As wind turbines get larger and larger—a 5 MW turbine has a blade about 180' long, which at its height is over 400' off the ground—the different types wind stress on the turbine can be of such a nature that components can wear out early, causing early breakdown of the turbine. Moog Japan Ltd has created a system that can detect the stress on each blade of the turbine and adjust them to reduce stress due to variations in wind strength:
Four load sensors are installed at the base of each blade to measure distortion. The system adjusts the pitch angle to reduce the load on the wings when the wind is strong or when asymmetric load is applied on the windmill due to variations in wind strength. The adjustment will extend the lifetime of a windmill and reduce power generation cost. (Tech On!)
The result of all this is that the load applied to the blades is reduced by 10-20%, and on the tower as a whole by 20%.
via: Tech On! and Greentech Media
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