Michael Pecht1 , G. Haddad1, P.A. Sandborn1, T. Jazouli1, B. Foucher2, V. Rouet2
1CALCE, Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA
2EADS Innovation Works, Suresnes France
Modern wind turbines are relatively “immature” in the sense that they have not been fielded for
a sufficient amount of time to assess their long-term viability. Availability, the ability of a system to function
when it is required, is a major concern for alternative energy systems. Profits and environmental benefits will
be lost if the costs and energy required to maintain a system outweigh the benefits obtained. Prognostics and
system health management (PHM) methods can have a significant impact on the wind energy community.
PHM enables the manufacturers and operators of complex systems to move from traditional time- or cyclebased
maintenance to condition-based maintenance, which can significantly improve availability. This paper
discusses the challenges in guaranteeing the high availability of wind turbines, and the use of PHM as a
methodology to guarantee the high availability. A new sensor system for the health monitoring of turbine
blades is proposed and a return on investment analysis for its use is presented.