ChM4 recognizes many advantages exist for the use of Fiber Optic Sensors in the Wind Industry. These sensors are small and extremely lightweight (about 6% of today’s counterparts). Several sensors can be installed on a single fiber, monitoring multiple parts of the wind turbines simultaneously. This creates a tremendous saving in installation time, cost, cabling requirements and equipment. These sensors are immune to EMI and lightning, are low loss, high bandwidth systems effective over long distances. They can be used to monitor for structural integrity as well as equipment functionality and efficiency. Optical sensors are excellent tools for monitoring various aspects of a wind turbine including blades, towers, foundations, mechanical components, electrical components (hot spots), and hydraulic systems. They provide real-time data and are well suited for use in this environment. Here are some of our designs that are far ahead of other company approaches.
Model of control panel with LUNA Interrogator for gathering data of optical sensors
Model of instruments power supply and communications control panel
Model of control panel for National Instruments RIO for gathering data of analog sensors
First Generation and Second Generation
ChM4 was tasked by Sandia and Vestas engineers to design a modular system that can be mounted to a large or small wind turbine. As a team we recognized many advantages to deploying three separate control panels. The design allowed small lightweight thin aluminum control panels with a specific task; one designed for LUNA optical sensing instrumentation first generation and LUNA SI155 second generation, the second panel to house National instruments RIO analog sensing instruments and the third panel for power requirements coupled with remote a communications inter-phase. As shown in the pictures and models above made installing to small wind turbines blade mounting structure efficient and easily handled to mount within large wind turbine nose cone mounting areas. This design has been duplicated several times perfecting the umbilical connections between the separate lightweight control panels. Each panel also had its own internal environmental controls to keep the instrumentation in excellent working condition in all climates. ChM4 looks forward to additional challenges in the wind energy industry to implement newer optical technologies now available to this market.
ChM4 optical sensor control system using LUNA sensing equipment along side National Instruments RIO analog sensor system. The system incorporated power supply, communications, environmental conditioning and lightning protection.
Model of control panel for National Instruments RIO and Luna optical sensing interrogator
ChM4 designed a control panel to house both the National Instrument RIO sensor system and LUNA optical sensing system to compare technologies for long term use for wind turbine applications. ChM4's previous relationship with Sandia Testing grounds in Texas and our ability to turnkey sophisticated control panels and communications expertise was awarded this project to build a system for the University of Minnesota. The focal point of the University’s Eolos Wind Energy Research Consortium is its 80-acre field research station,located 25 miles southeast of the Twin Cities campus on the University of Minnesota Outreach, Research and Education (UMore) Park property. The St. Anthony Falls Laboratory completed the construction of the field-scale, wind energy research station, consisting of a 2.5 megawatt Clipper Liberty wind turbine, a 425-foot-tall meteorological tower, and related facilities. The project is a collaborative effort between Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Minnesota Eolos Wind Energy Research Consortium, established by the Department of Energy’s Office for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
ChM4 optical sensor control system using Luna Technologies sensing equipment along side National Instruments RIO analog sensor system for comparison purposes. The system incorporated power supply, communications, environmental conditioning and lightning protection.
ChM4's first opportunity to design a sensor control system using LUNA sensing equipment with Sandia with Luna optical sensors installed on wind turbines at their test facilities in Texas. Sandia National Laboratories responds to Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) were Sandia seeks to help companies move their technologies to commercialization stage through the use of Sandia staff expertise and facilities.
ChM4 optical control panels mounting Luna Interrogators to test Wind Turbine Blades