Testing Wind Turbine Lubes in Canada

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Testing Wind Turbine Lubes in Canada
Wind power turbines on the North Cape of Price Edward Island in Canada. © BYUNGSUK KO

ExxonMobil is collaborating with a Canadian wind energy research organization to test new lubricants for wind turbine applications and lube performance monitoring technologies.

The company will test its lubricants at the Wind Energy Institute of Canada’s 10-megawatt Wind R&D Park in North Cape, Prince Edward Island. The collaboration will focus on “improving performance and cost efficiency of turbines by analyzing performance-based data,” according to a Sept. 9 announcement from the Wind Energy Institute.

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“ExxonMobil will provide a combination of new and experimental lubes to cover all of our wind turbine lubricant needs,” Marianne Rodgers, scientific director at the Wind Energy Institute, told Lube Report. “Currently, we have a five-year agreement in place to study the impacts of lubricants on wind turbine performance.” The lubricants will be tested in real-world conditions, and the results of the collaboration will be shared with turbine manufacturers and power generators to analyze the lifecycle benefits of lubricants for wind power, the institute said.

“The impact of the turbines on the lubricants will … be analyzed using a range of different analyses, including trace metals, foaming, viscosity, stability, [National Lubricating Grease Institute] grade, oxidation and others, as well as looking at turbine performance, condition monitoring vibration data and borescope images, to determine how the lubricant is impacting the performance of the wind turbine.”

Mike Kerby, vice president of lubricants technology at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, said, “This technology has the potential to improve reliability and reduce the total cost of ownership for wind turbine operators, increasing the competitiveness of the wind industry as a whole.”

The Wind Energy Institute of Canada is a nonprofit research organization located in North Cape, Prince Edward Island. It works with a number of organizations, research institutes and universities, and has recently completed a project with the University of Windsor, University of Western Ontario, Enbridge and Kruger Energy.

Its Wind R&D Park is open to other organizations for use as a test laboratory.

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