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Level Control’s Impact on the Efficiency of Wind Turbines

Last edited: March 9, 2021

Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing forms of electricity generation in the world. U.S. wind power market share is expected to reach 8.4% by 2021. More optimistic industry experts predict that wind energy will meet 20% of the nation’s energy needs by 2030. As supply and demand for wind power grows, so will the need to increase the efficiency of wind turbines, to drive costs out of the process and deliver cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

Wind Energy Systems
Large wind conversion systems are most commonly deployed for power grid electricity generation. Smaller systems are used for water pumping. A system of blades mounted on a tower is turned by the wind to either produce mechanical work directly (via a water pump), or to employ a generator to transform mechanical work into electrical energy (wind turbines). Utility-scale wind turbines for land-based wind farms have rotor diameters ranging from 165 to 325 feet (50 to 100 meters).
Wind Turbine Level Applications

WIND TURBINE OIL RESERVOIR: As wind energy technology advances, higher demands are placed on turbine lubrication systems. Lubricant reservoirs of up to 550 gallons (2,000+ liters) serve as oil storage in centralized systems to provide lubrication for the blade bearings, blade tilt, main bearing, azimuth bearing, meshing gears, generator bearings, cylindrical gears, bevel gears, rolling and sliding bearings, worm gear units, and gear couplings. The oil reservoir is monitored using continuous or point level.
Recommended Continuous Level Technologies: Guided Wave Radar, Ultrasoni
Recommended Point Level Technologies: Float Actuated, Ultrasonic

WIND TURBINE GEARBOX: Gearbox and bearing lubrication are of particular importance due to the complexity of the gearbox and the high mechanical loads. Gearbox and bearing problems are a common cause of downtime, and loss of oil through a small leak has led to catastrophic wind turbine failures. Along with vibration, temperature, and flow sensors, a low level gearbox oil alarm is a critical safety control.
Recommended Point Level Technologies: Float Actuated, Ultrasonic

Water Pumping Level Application

WATER PUMPING STORAGE: For industrial and agricultural use, a water pumping windmill is typically placed above a well or near a river. Next to the mill a storage tank is placed to provide a buffer supply of water for when the mill is not operational. Ferro-cement and steel tanks are typically used.
Recommended Continuous Level Technologies: Guided Wave Radar, Displacer Controller, Pulse Burst Radar (Through Air), Ultrasoni
Recommended Point Level Technologies: Float Actuated, Ultrasonic

Instrumentation for Wind Energy Applications

Learn more about Level & Flow Instrumentation for Renewable Energy.

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