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How Specialized Temperature Sensors Help Harness the Power of Wind Energy

Windmills for power generation are springing up just about everywhere, and they are playing an increasingly important role as a renewable energy source. According to the American Wind Energy Association, as of the end of 2016, the US wind power generating capacity reached 82,183 megawatts, enough energy to power 24 million American homes.

Wind has surpassed hydroelectric as the largest source of renewable energy in the US, and fourth largest source overall, behind gas, coal, and nuclear power generation. To put it in perspective, assuming an average power output of 500 megawatts from a coal fired plant, the US wind power capacity has the same output as about 160 coal-fired generating plants.

Temperature measurement plays a key role in wind power generation. During operation, the rotor speed must be maintained within safe operating limits. If the rotor is allowed to spin freely in high wind, the safe operating speed may be exceeded, leading to overheating, and eventual failure of the turbine. The temperature of the turbine is monitored using platinum resistance temperature sensors, and the measurement is inputted into the turbine control system.

Heraeus Slot-Type temperature sensor
Heraeus Slot-Type temperature sensor

If an overheat condition is detected, the control system trims (adjusts) the blade pitch (angle) to slow, or even stop the blade rotation. Slot-type temperature sensors from Heraeus Sensor Technology are widely used for precision temperature measurement in the heart of the turbine. The high electrical isolation (3kV) allows the sensor to be inserted directly into the stator winding of the turbine, resulting in a fast response to changes in the winding temperature. Typically supplied with a Pt100 element in a one-meter long two-wire configuration, the sensor is also available with customized options to meet the requirements of specific applications.

In addition to windmill applications, the Heraeus Slot-Type sensor is also used in electric motor temperature monitoring applications.

As part of our global commitment to sustainability, Heraeus Sensor Technology is proud to provide sensors for renewable energy applications.

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