New techniques to protect wind generators during voltage dips

Jesus López Taberna

Jesus López Taberna

An industrial engineer and member of the INGEPER Research Team at the Public University of Navarre (Spain), Jesús López Taberna, has put forward in his PhD two protection techniques  so that wind generators continue to be operative despite breaks in electricity supply.

The objective of Jesús López Taberna was to provide a solution to the problems caused by sudden dips in voltage in the electric grid. The fruit of his research is a rotor model which enables anticipating how the wind power unit will behave in these situations. This system allows the  generator to remain in operation during these voltage dips and thus prevent the wind energy converter from ceasing to function.

A voltage dip is a sudden reduction in potential in the electric grid, followed by a rapid return to its normal value. This, at times, can be caused by lightning or a tree falling on power cables, but also to a large company consuming a lot of energy in one go. This drop in voltage happens in a matter of milliseconds; “we are aware of it because the lights begin to flicker or because they go off and on for a moment– but, for a machine, this can be an eternity”, explains Mr López. In fact, an interruption of half a second in a productive process can cause the whole process to block.

With wind generators, in the case of a voltage dip, the electronic part of the unit can burn out or  be otherwise  destroyed, unless a protection system is installed. “The current system of protection, known as Crowbar, has the advantage of being able to protect the machine but its disadvantage is that it causes the machine to come to a halt”, points out Mr López.

Considering that, in Spain, for example, there are days when wind-powered energy can account for one third of electricity production, the problem can prove to be a serious one.

Jesús López Taberna specifically proposed in his PhD thesis two effective protection systems.  Both have been patented. The first, only requiring changing the control of the machine converter, has been transferred to a manufacturer for its introduction into wind farms worldwide; the other requires changing elements inside the machine, so it is still in study with the idea to apply it in the next generation of wind turbines.

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3 Comments on “New techniques to protect wind generators during voltage dips”

  1. […] research to address one of the issues associated with wind power generation voltage dips > New techniques to protect wind generators during voltage dips Technology For Life […]

  2. […] there is ongoing research into alleviating some of the problems of wind power including noise and voltage dips Further to this, for smaller scale production, there have been some research developments in […]

  3. […] dip in voltage occurs when there is a sudden reduction in potential in the grid that is followed by a quick return […]

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