Energy-system supplier Alstom and energy R&D firm Ikerlan-IK4 say they are using IBM software to develop wind-turbine controls that significantly improve the performance of renewable-energy power systems. New wind turbines will leverage a complex system of electronic sensors combined with software from IBM to gather inputs regarding wind direction, speed, temperature and other factors for best performance. A central control collects and analyzes data from each turbine to remotely control individual turbine subsystems, perform diagnostics, and manage wind farm power generation. Alstom and Ikerlan-IK4 say they are using IBM software to help develop and automate the “system of systems” that controls the turbines and their interconnected communications systems.
“Using IBM software helps us automate the design and development of Alstom Wind control systems,” says Alston VP Alfonso Faubel. “The program lets us deliver tailored solutions that are adapted to emerging standards, markets, and client needs.”
The two energy companies also use the Gears Software Product Line Lifecycle Framework, from BigLever Software, to customize their control software to accommodate varying climates and geographies where the wind turbines will operate. Alstom and Ikerlan-IK4 estimate their use of IBM and Big Lever Software reduces their development costs by as much as 25% and decreases development time by a whopping 90%.
“The fact that the wind turbines can be customized to accommodate geographic differences and adjust to ambient environmental changes adds a layer of complexity to an already a complex software-development process,” says Dr. Salvador Trujillo, chief product line engineer at Ikerlan-IK4. “By using IBM Rational Software for model-driven development combined with BigLever Gears for product line engineering, we can reuse software assets and manage these variations at a pace that lets us keep up with market requirements.”
Wind power is growing as a sustainable energy choice and is expected to make up as much as 12% of the global power supply by 2020. For example, Denmark supplies more than 20% of its total electricity consumption with wind power, by far the largest share of any country in the world. On some windy days, wind has generated over 40% of the electrical power produced in Spain.
According to the European Wind Energy Association, more new wind power capacity was installed in the EU in 2009 than any other electricity-generating technology. Likewise, American Wind Energy Association reports similar trends stating that the U.S. wind industry broke all previous records by installing close to 10,000 MW of new generating capacity in 2009, making the year the strongest yet.
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Kheng Chan says
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Paul Dvorak says
Thanks for the comment, Mr. Chan.
I’ll talk to our web guys about the additions you suggest.