- 80% of Wind turbine failures occur in the gearbox
- Life expectancy of a wind turbine is 20-25yrs
- Common lifespan of a wind turbine is 3-5 yrs due to failure
- $500k is the minimum replacement cost per gearbox
- Estimated that 20% of U.S. electricity production will be wind turbine energy by 2030
Some wind turbine bearings are not achieving their desired operational lives because of life limiting wear modes. Tribological issues manifest themselves through different bearing failure modes in various systems of wind turbines. The primary mechanisms in pitch/yaw bearings, main shaft bearings, the gearbox, and the generator are false brinelling, micropitting, wear and cracking, and electrical arc damage.
PCS equipment, in particular, the Micropitting Rig (MPR) has been used to investigate many of these different wear mechanisms and wind turbine issues.
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