In-situ wireless monitoring of on – and offshore WINd TURbine blades using energy harvesting technology – Demonstration



The WINTUR DEMO Project aims to demonstrate the structural health monitoring (SHM) system that was developed successfully in the WinTur R4S project, in order to show that such a system is viable for blade monitoring and can help the wind sector to achieve the kind of energy delivery to business and communities that is desired by reducing operational and maintenance costs. This will be achieved by increasing the efficiency by way of realising the full life-cycle term of blade components and providing maintenance as and when it is required.

Project Objectives

There will be many overall technical objectives that will be achieved by the end of the demo project:

1.Installation of novel light weight and flexible transducers on the blade able to detect the onset of damage that was the occurrence of fibre breakage due to staged development of a hole-defect.
2. Combination of different NDT techniques based on the guide wave ultrasonics such as Long Range Ultrasonic LRU and acoustic emission.
3. A sequence of signal processing techniques (FFTs, averaging, amplification) to overcome problems of ultrasound attenuation.
4. Utilisation of Energy Harvesting as a system to harness the surrounding environmental energy for the purposes of powering the sensors.
5. Use of short-range wireless protocol techniques to transfer data from the pulser/receiver unit to the central control in the nacelle.

A unique structural health monitoring (SHM) system.

The WinTur system uses two technologies simultaneously: Acoustic Emission (AE) and Long Range Ultrasonic Guide Wave (LRUG), thereby permitting early intervention to determine onset of a failure, the propagation of a defect and to initiate a repair before catastrophic failure occurs, which would otherwise give rise to a costly long outage and even fatalities.


Key features of Wintur Systems are:

  • Combination of Acoustic Emission (AE) and Long Range Ultrasonic (LRU) inspection techniques with Finite Element Modelling (FEM) to enable assessment of the wave propagating characteristics of the composite materials that comprise the turbine blade
  • In built dual purpose transducer to successfully detect the onset of incipient defects using AE and LRU. Unique designed spares array of dual purpose transducers with a combination of signal processing application is able to detect the occurrence of defects and identify the defect location
  • Two types of Energy Harvesting (EH) systems are developed with two different sensors. One EH system successfully harnessed energy using actuators from a simulated ambient mechanical over a wide range of frequencies. The second EH system utilises a scaled model harness energy from a dynamic environment of transient loads and semi-permanent loads
  • Using multi-channel and multi-functional hardware for generating and receiving signals with additional facility for the transfer of acquired data using wireless communication. Built in software provide data visualization and interpretation together with data management and reporting facility.

WINTur Demo is a result of a research project funded by the European Commission Research Programme.