IET - Wind Turbine Drivetrain Reliability: the tribology of premature bearing failures

14th September 2022 2:00 pm

Wind energy continues to be one of the fastest growing energy installations to electrical grid around the world. In the US, wind is now the largest source of renewable electricity generation providing over 120 GW which is produced by over 70,000 turbines. Wind turbine operations and maintenance (O&M) wind can be challenging and costly; O&M costs currently represent the single largest component of wind plant operational expenditure with drivetrain reliability remaining a significant contributor to those O&M costs.

The unique operational conditions of the bearing and gears within wind turbines has led to a number of tribological related failures, with the predominate and lesser understood failure mode attributed to a premature bearing failure referred to as white-etching cracks (WEC) or axial cracks. Several drivers have been identified that lead to WEC failures.

In this talk we will review the research conducted at Argonne National Laboratory on studying the impact of lubricant chemistry, material cleanliness, and stray electrical currents have on promoting WEC failures.

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