Principal Investigator – Nikhil Gupta (not pictured)
Entrepreneurial Lead – Yi Yang (right)
Mentor – Lindsay Drogin (left)
Wind energy is the fastest growing clean energy sector, with over $112 B invested in 2016 alone. Currently, about 345,000 turbines are operational worldwide, with over 52000 located in the USA. The growth rate of Wind sector is outpacing all other renewable energy sectors in terms of capacity installed each year. More than 1500 wind turbine accidents were reported by UK in the past 4 years; mostly broken blades and turbine fires. Accidents have also been reported in the USA and other countries but numbers are not available in consolidated reports. Technologies that can make wind turbine operation safer are in great demand as this sector continues to grow at fast pace. The proposed fiber-optic sensor is a patented technology developed at NYU in the lab of Technical Lead Dr. Nikhil Gupta. The sensor is capable of measuring vibration amplitude and frequency. The application of sensor will allow real time detection of abnormality in the blade such as crack initiation and bird hits causing damage and allow repairs or replacement before the blade fractures. The sensor will be developed in two configurations (a) for retrofit on existing turbines and (b) for embedding inside the composite material blades during their manufacturing process. The project will focus on packaging the sensor in a compact and portable instrumentation, development of user interface software and conducting calibration studies in the application environment. The team will conduct testing on the customer sites for obtaining direct feedback and demonstration of technology to the users.