James Mc Auliffe

James Mc Auliffe

Ph.D. Student

Project Title: A comprehensive decision support tool for end-of-life wind turbines of Ireland; Lifetime Extension, Decommissioning, Repowering, Repurposing [WindLEDeRR]

Wind turbines are normally designed for 20 years lifetime. In Ireland, there will be a significant number of wind turbines reaching their end-of-life (500 turbines by 2025 and 1000 by 2030). There are generally three options for wind plants at end-of-life: life extension, decommissioning and repowering. This project will develop a comprehensive decision-making tool for end-of-life wind turbines in Ireland through life assessment for the critical components of wind turbines including foundation, tower and blades. A holistic structural dynamic models of wind turbines will be developed using a multi-body approach which accounts for the aeroelastic behaviour of the wind turbines employing Irish meteorological conditions. Cutting-edge structural health monitoring techniques will be developed for lifetime extension of wind turbines. Novel approaches will be developed for anomaly detection and fatigue assessment of the tower structure through smart advanced identification methods. In addition, a new methodology will be developed for predicting remaining fatigue life and residual strength of wind turbines’ blades periodically until their end-of-life. Lifecycle assessment of foundations will be developed which will provide a set of recommendation outlining options for the foundation to include remaining operational life. Furthermore, a range of energetic, environmental, social and economic factors will be considered in order to arrive at optimal solutions for sustainable decommissioning of end-of-life wind turbines in Ireland. Finally, a new protocol will be developed for repurposing decommissioned blades for specific purposes. The results will form the most authoritative evidence base around the topic for Ireland and will be an international benchmark.

This research has been supported by the SEAI RD&D Projects SEAI/21/RDD/601 (A comprehensive decision support tool for end-of-life wind turbines of Ireland: Lifetime extension, Decommissioning, Repowering, Repurposing – WindLEDeRR)

Supervisor: Dr Breiffni Fitzgerald