As the leading U.S. wind turbine supplier (its turbines generate forty percent of installed U.S. wind energy capacity), it makes sense that GE would invest in technology to keep all those turbines operating efficiently and reliably.
GE recently issued a press release about its new wind farm monitoring and diagnostic system. Called PulsePOINT, the system incorporates anomaly detection algorithms with wind farm and fleet data to identify problems in turbine operations and recommend appropriate corrective actions.
GE recently obtained a patent on its PulsePOINT system. U.S. Patent No. 8,162,788, entitled ”System, device and method for wind turbine control based on operating profiles” (’788 Patent), issued April 25, 2012.
The ’788 Patent is directed to a device for use in controlling a wind turbine. One or more sensors (120) are coupled to a wind turbine. A sensor monitor (130) receives signals from the sensors (120) via sensor interface (132) and processes the signals by processor (134) to create a plurality of parameter values.
Per independent claim 1, the only independent claim of the ’788 Patent, the parameter values include two different sets of values with the first set of parameter values being indicative of wind turbine vibration.
A client device (204) receives the data, and a processor (224) coupled to a wind turbine communication interface (228) associates each of the received parameter values with one of a plurality of operating modes of the wind turbine to create a turbine operating profile for each mode.
Philip Totaro of Totaro & Associates, which tracks wind industry and technology developments, said PulsePOINT is an important tool for improving turbine reliability and performance:
This technology represents an important step for wind turbine manufacturers and service providers in understanding what’s happening to their fleet. It will help flush out reliability and performance problems and greatly assist in driving down operations & maintenance (O&M) costs. This could also provide GE some key turbine fleet performance data for their move to production based turbine availability and production based O&M.
According to this Greentech Media piece, GE’s Remote Operations Centers monitors 6,000 wind turbines around the world 24/7. That’s a lot of vibrations.
Eric Lane is a patent attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in San Diego and the author of Green Patent Blog. Mr. Lane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org