For the recent surge of interests in Taiwan’s offshore wind farm program, the government takes the initiatives promoting pilot wind farm projects and developing strategy for 600 wind turbines off Taiwan’s west coast by 2030. Together with 450 land based turbines at the time, it anticipates a total power capacity of 4.2 GW. The announcement of this ambitious offshore energy program has stimulated significant interests among various industrial sectors, as well as academic and R&D institutions in Taiwan.
The offshore wind turbines are exposed to extreme environmental conditions and high dynamic stresses. Incipient damage must be detected at the earliest stage possible in order to plan and take reasonable repair measures in due time. This can prevent the development of severe damage and thus lower the repair costs. Periodic inspections are not sufficient for an early detection of damage. Continuous monitoring ensures a higher level of safety. Wireless structural health monitoring (SHM) and risk-based reliability management (RRM) are cost-effective, infrastructural solutions to stable and increased energy yield.
The SHM process involves the observation of a system over time using periodically sampled dynamic response measurements from an array of sensors, the extraction of damage-sensitive features from these measurements, and the statistical analysis of these features to determine the current state of system health. For long term SHM, the output of this process is periodically updated information regarding the ability of the structure to perform its intended function in light of the inevitable aging and degradation resulting from operational environments. After extreme events, such as earthquakes or blast loading, SHM is used for rapid condition screening and aims to provide, in near real time, reliable information regarding the integrity of the structure. The RRM approach is usually used for this purpose to quantify the severity of the damage and maintain the life-cycle structural integrity.
Use of SHM and RRM would be inevitable in the future operation and maintenance of Taiwan’s offshore wind turbines. This symposium calls for an international forum to address key technological issues in the areas of operational/environmental evaluation, data acquisition and cleansing, extraction and data compression, wireless communications, statistical pattern recognition, fitness-for-service assessment, etc. It is the objective of this symposium to establish dialogues among Taiwan’s academic, R&D and industrial sectors, as well as with the international expertise on those subjects.The symposium will be held in Taipei, Taiwan on November 11 and 12, 2014. Technical and strategic presentations will be held during the first one and half days. A half-day, round-robin discussions led by the leaderships, including the government, will be held following the technical presentations, to map out both short- and long-term plans for the follow-up R&D and application programs. It would be comprehensible to make Taiwan an international focus on SHM and RRM technologies, if the pilot turbines could be used as the testing platform for such technologies. This symposium is a starting point integrating the associated domestic and international expertise to plant the seed for future need in Taiwan’s offshore wind farm program. National Taiwan University (NTU), National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU), and Ship and Ocean Industries R&D Center (SOIC) are currently leading the initiatives. It anticipates many other organizations, domestic and international, to join this great endeavor.