Photo: Iben Julie Schmidt

Researchers working on preventing expensive wind turbine failures

Wednesday 17 Jan 18


Hilmar Kjartansson Danielsen
Senior Researcher
DTU Wind Energy
+45 22 27 58 75

Project partners

  • DTU Wind Energy (Denmark)
  • DTU Mechanical Engineering (Denmark)
  • Expanite A/S (Denmark)
  • Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Denmark)
  • SKF B.V. (The Netherlands)
  • Institute for machine elements and system development (RWTH Aachen University)

About the project

  • Investments by Innovation Fond Denmark: 18,3 million kroner
  • Overall budget: 25 million kroner
  • Duration of the project: 4 years
  • The official title: WhiteWind: White Etching Crack Bearing Failures in Wind Turbines

Small cracks in wind turbine bearings are responsible for some of the most expensive wind turbine failures. Today, there are no certain methods of preventing the cracks, but a new project led by DTU Wind Energy will change that.

White Etching Cracks (WEC) is an aggressive and unpredictable failure mode that occurs in wind turbine bearings. WEC are internal cracks that usually occur in bearings used for gearboxes, main shafts and generators.

WEC can cause failures after 1-10 % of the expected lifetime of a wind turbine, and is considered to be the most expensive failure mode for wind turbines. Even though improvements have been made in order to limit the risks of WEC, there is still no guaranteed way of protecting wind turbines from the cracks.

A new project, WhiteWind, led by DTU Wind Energy will change that.

The project's specific goal is to develop a new WEC-resistant bearing material using new surface technology solutions, explains Hilmar Danielsen, senior researcher at DTU Wind Energy:

“There is an urgent need for specifically formed bearing materials due to the unreliable durability of bearings today. The materials have to be able to withstand the dynamic strains and loads they are exposed to in a wind turbine.”

Read more about the project. Be aware the text is in Danish.

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