Operations and maintenance for wind energy

Operational risk is inherent in any project but we can help you identify and mitigate those risks.

Lloyd's Register has a full range of services to ensure smooth operation of your wind farm. Download the factsheet or read on for more information.

Axxim™ software

Comprising Lloyd's Register's proven techniques of risk-based inspection (RBI) amongst others, the Axxim software is used to accumulate knowledge about complex assets. That knowledge informs smarter decision making and reduced operational costs. Ultimately, these approaches can help to reduce the cost of electricity. The Axxim™ portfolio also includes key tools such as FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis), RCM (reliability centred maintenance), and RCA (root cause analysis) to analyse and document the knowledge of the asset as the time increases. This, combined with the power of Maximo, provides for a unique operational expenditure (OPEX) and capital expenditure (CAPEX) analytical tool to help customers make tactical and strategic decisions.

Wind farms comprise a large number of identical turbines, for which generic risk-models have already been devised, based on qualitative risk assessments, applications of equivalent systems or components from other industries, published wind industry statistics and past experience with earlier designs.

In order to implement Axxim™ for your wind farm, Lloyd's Register is able to take advantage of expertise with fixed structures in the offshore environment, corrosion, rotating mechanical equipment alongside the latest results from academic research and joint industry projects. For 3 years Lloyd's Register has been collaborating with the operators of the UK's biggest offshore wind farms, to implement Axxim™ and to validate the predicted component risk levels and prioritised maintenance tasks.

More information on Axxim™.

Wind turbine FMEA

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FMEA is the backbone of reliability-based decision-making, facilitating improvements in maintenance planning over the short- and long-term. Lloyd's Register's Top 30 Chart of wind turbine failure modes is updated regularly, based on experience working alongside wind farm operators. It is fast becoming a trustworthy basis for decision-making, including its application within Lloyd's Register's Axxim™ software for optimisation of the maintenance strategy.

More information on Lloyd's Register's RiskSpectrum software.

Quantitative risk analysis of new turbine designs

Wind turbine designs are continuing to evolve and develop. The wind turbines installed in the next decades may generate twice the electricity of those currently in operation. New rotor, drivetrain and energy storage concepts will be incorporated. To incorporate future technology, the risks and uncertainties must be quantified through the use of the very best information available, including operational data and failure statistics alongside qualitative assessments of new functional elements or components. The result is the most accurate possible risk-based planning resource, which improves as more information becomes available. This facilitates sound decision making on finance, investments, changes of ownership and detailed planning for construction and operation of the wind farm.

More information on Technology qualification for wind energy.

Wind farm logistics and planning tool, incorporating access and weather window estimates for offshore wind farms

Lloyd's Register has developed software for estimating weather windows for safe transfer of technicians between work boats and turbines. By incorporating task schedules and failure predictions, the weather window estimator enables smarter maintenance task planning, both for the next shift and also to assist forthcoming strategic decisions about new approaches, new vessels or major refits. A comprehensive tool is currently under development in collaboration with the operator of a major UK offshore wind farm. New partners are sought to pilot associated services for other wind farms.

Download Mark Spring's presentation at Global Offshore Wind 2016 on forecasting wind turbine safe working windows

Vessel utilisation, vessel and personnel tracking, vessel fuel consumption

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Work boats transferring technicians in an offshore wind farm can be managed more effectively if the characteristics are accurately known. Lloyd's Register's naval architects are experienced in analyses of vessel dynamics, responses to all expected combinations of environmental conditions on site, use of fuel under different scenarios and estimates of limiting conditions for safe transfers of technicians to turbines. Lloyd's Register's Iris software has offered vessel tracking capabilities for many years, in addition to many other data layers, presented in a geographical context.

More information on IRIS.

Wind farm CFD – forecast electricity production, forecast loads, forecast access

Wind flow within an operating wind farms is dependent on the operational status of all the turbines as well as the ambient wind conditions. Lloyd's Register has demonstrated and validated the use of wind farm modelling software for estimating energy production to plan new developments.

The same techniques are available to provide day-to-day forecasting, which enables the wind farm operator to get the best price for the electricity generated, to schedule maintenance tasks to minimise lost production and make best use of periods of benign weather for the safety of its personnel. Forecasts are available for each turbine, for the whole wind farm, on an hourly basis for 48 hours in advance.

Download our EWEA 2015 presentations.

Root cause analyses, machinery dynamics, noise, vibration, tribology, mechanisms of mechanical degradation and failure

When failures do occur, there are opportunities for improving risk models associated with similar events occurring in the future. Investigating and understanding the root causes is essential.

Lloyd's Register has diverse expertise in the fields of rotating machinery, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, vibrations, acoustics, tribology, structural integrity and fatigue.

Putting together the right team to assist the wind farm operator is essential both in the case where the evaluation of risk may be relatively high-level across a large number of potential failure modes and in the case where a particular failure is to be investigated in more depth using tools such as finite element analysis or computational fluid dynamics.

Remaining life prediction algorithms – composite health indices for components, sub-assemblies, turbines and wind farm

Understanding the current health of the wind turbine and the mechanisms by which damage accumulates and accelerates towards eventual failure are key components of estimating the remaining useful life.

This is achieved by simulating the degradation of each component under each failure mode in the context of the full range of expected conditions of operational status, associated but statistically-independent random failures, electrical grid events, environmental conditions, variability of material properties and manufactured geometry.

Lloyd's Register is seeking new partners to collaborate on the development of these key aspects in exchange for direct, commercial savings commensurate with costs.

Statistical pattern-recognition and trend-finding

Central to Lloyd's Register's asset integrity software (such as Axxim™) are statistical models of component duty, degradation and the probability of failure under different prescribed conditions of use. The same data and statistical environment may be used to find patterns of failure causes and consequences and to identify trends between environmental conditions or asset utilisation and particular failure modes. These connections are incorporated into the software as new composite health indices and failure prediction algorithms for particular components, sub-systems and operational risk units.

Incorporating engineering models – structural fatigue, power converter degradation with usage

Lloyd's Register is incorporating the latest academic research into its consulting services, software and databases. Lloyd's Register can ensure new understanding is put to best use through support for engineering industrial doctorate students, collaboration in joint industry and academic projects, the internal technology streams of Lloyd's Register's global technology centres and the work of the Lloyd's Register Foundation.