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ECN publication
Fiber optic blade monitoring
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Wind Energy 1-11-2004
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-RX--04-136 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
12 Download PDF  

Presented at: European Wind Energy Conference 2004, London, UK, 22-25 november 2004.


The development of blade monitoring was hindered by the unavailability of robust and cost effective measurement and data transmission techniques. The application of sensors based on optical fibers for measuring strains, temperatures and loads is increasing rapidly in many branches of industry. Load measurement systems with optical fibers are expected to offer a reliable measurement technique for monitoring blade loads, mainly because the sensors are not sensitive for electro magnetic fields and lightning. The costs of the sensors and required instrumentation are decreasing, but still too high. Wireless data communication techniques are already common practice and can be used for the data transmission between the rotor and the nacelle. Proper functioning in wind turbines has been demonstrated.

ECN is participating in several condition monitoring projects which all have the objective to reduce costs for operation and maintenance of (offshore) wind turbines and to detect component failures at an early stage. A new development especially for wind energy applications in which ECN is involved is the development of a condition monitoring system for rotor blades in close cooperation with FosWindpower and Knowledge center WMC.

The developments are focused on three aspects:

  • The reliability, robustness and cost effectiveness of the sensors and instrumentation;
  • The approach with respect to the sensor configuration and integration during the manufacturing process;
  • The data analysis and presentation of the results

With respect to the cost, it will be difficult to meet the objectives. The costs of sensors can reduce sufficiently due to larger volumes and automation of the process. The optical components are a decisive factor.

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