UWB Wind Turbine Blade Deflection Sensing for Wind Energy Cost Reduction

Sensors (Basel). 2015 Aug 12;15(8):19768-82. doi: 10.3390/s150819768.


A new application of utilizing ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to sense wind turbine blade deflections is introduced in this paper for wind energy cost reduction. The lower UWB band of 3.1-5.3 GHz is applied. On each blade, there will be one UWB blade deflection sensing system, which consists of two UWB antennas at the blade root and one UWB antenna at the blade tip. The detailed topology and challenges of this deflection sensing system are addressed. Due to the complexity of the problem, this paper will first realize the on-blade UWB radio link in the simplest case, where the tip antenna is situated outside (and on the surface of) a blade tip. To investigate this case, full-blade time-domain measurements are designed and conducted under different deflections. The detailed measurement setups and results are provided. If the root and tip antenna locations are properly selected, the first pulse is always of sufficient quality for accurate estimations under different deflections. The measured results reveal that the blade tip-root distance and blade deflection can be accurately estimated in the complicated and lossy wireless channels around a wind turbine blade. Some future research topics on this application are listed finally.

Keywords: UWB; blade deflection; radio link; wind turbine.