AWEA’s WINDPOWER 2018, as you would expect, featured a variety of exciting announcements from companies in the wind energy industry. From May 7 to 11, thousands of renewable energy leaders and innovators gathered in Chicago to learn about new technologies and business processes that, when combined, are moving the wind energy market forward.
We thought we’d take a moment to share a few favorites from the editors at Windpower Engineering & Development magazine.
Never off the grid
Kymeta Corporation showcased its mTenna antenna, a new mobile satellite communications technology that is distributed by FMC GlobalSat for wind farms and other often-remote locations.
Kymeta’s mTenna antenna subsystem modules offer flexibility of integration and installation for a wide range of high-data-rate applications. The antenna modules feature metamaterials-based holographic beam forming and tracking (no moving parts) and Tx/Rx on one single aperture.
This is good news for industries that need access to easy-to-use, reliable mobile communications. Just ask Bill Gates – he’s one of the company’s original investors, said Kymeta’s Steve Sybeldon during the WINDPOWER 2018 show.
Unveiling a turbine prototype
Goldwind Americas held a press conference at the show to announce installation of its GW 3MW(S) Smart Wind turbine test unit at the UL Advanced Wind Turbine Test Facility located at West Texas A&M University. The scalable 3-MW test turbine works at a height of 130 m and has a blade tip height of 199.2 m, reportedly the highest-reach wind turbine in the United States.
A better bathroom break
One part of wind technicians’ work we don’t ordinarily think about involves restroom breaks. So what do employees do when nature calls 100 m up?
Brief Relief was on hand at WINDPOWER 2018 to showcase its line of portable lavatory supplies, including the company’s disposable urinal bag that turns liquid into gel and is trash container-safe. Brief Relief’s Lou Ortego said the company was receiving good response from attendees who stopped by their booth to view the portable restroom products. The company also sells solutions for solid waste and privacy.
Predictive analytics partner ONYX InSight highlighted an advanced monitoring digital platform for U.S. wind-power producer BP Wind Energy. To date, 10 of BP’s wind farms in the United States (totaling 1.2GW) have incorporated ONYX InSight’s Fleet Monitor platform into their operations.
Fleet Monitor combines data streams from multiple drivetrain technologies, enabling project owners to detect developing component failures months before action is required. The monitoring platform also helps owners predict the remaining useful life of components and make informed decisions about where and when to send out inspection and repair teams.
Senvion’s low-wind 4.2-MW platform
Senvion showcased its 4.2-MW platform at the WINDPOWER 2018 conference. The 4.2M140 and 4.2M148, based on the company’s 3.XM series, are best suited for low- and medium-wind sites, according to company reports.
The 4.2M140 and 4.2M148 turbines feature lighter, longer, and more efficient rotor blades, and the company’s dynamic control technologies enable the new turbines to maximize energy production and adapt to specific regional requirements such as noise.
Wind Access Engineering displayed its impressive Kaeufer Blade Access Systems, versatile mobile platforms that facilitate the inspection, repair, and maintenance of wind turbine blades.
These platforms can be customized to fit any utility-scale wind energy towers, according to the company. Workers can control winches with precision, allowing for safe maneuvering close to the blade along its entire length.
The platforms are also easy to transport and can be assembled and erected on any surface. They are powered by electric winches and can climb to any heights.
It was exciting to see the California State University Maritime Academy beat out 11 other teams to claim top honors at the Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition held at WINDPOWER 2018. This competition is aimed at providing undergraduates with real-world skills needed to enter tomorrow’s renewable energy workforce. Teams designed, built, and tested a wind turbine, conducted market research, developed a business plan, and sited a wind farm. All products were judged by a panel of wind industry leaders.
Second-place winner was Pennsylvania State University. Learn more about all of this year’s competitors here.
Also on the show floor…
Aztec Bolting Services featured its new tool trade-in program at the show, which lets users turn in old competitors’ tools to receive up to a $750 discount on a new Enerpac product…
…and GE Renewable Energy entertained visitors with an amazing virtual reality experience, right at the company’s booth at WINDPOWER 2018.
All said, WINDPOWER 2018 featured the latest technologies that are powering the global wind energy industry. Be sure to attend WINDPOWER 2019, which will be held May 20 to 23, 2019, in Houston.