Retrofitted and life extended wind turbine N60 1,3 in Filskov, Denmark

Maximizing wind performance: Reviewing the first year with Spica Retrofit Controller installed

Filskov, Denmark – “Our turbine now runs perfectly, showcasing the great advantages of retrofitting an old wind turbine,” says CTO, Anders B. Jensen.

Spica Technology is excited to share the latest update on our successful retrofit of the Nordex N60 1.3 MW wind turbine with our Spica Control System. Since the retrofit of the control system in early 2022 and the implementation of several improvements throughout the same year, the wind turbine located in Filskov, Denmark has been operating flawlessly without any unplanned stops.

What does it mean to retrofit a wind turbine?

The purpose of retrofitting is to lifeextend older wind turbines. It can be achieved by a full replacement of the controller panel/switchboard which in this case is designed by Spica Technology, or by modifying the existing controller panel. Either way it promises a unique solution to ensure full compability with the turbine. To Spica Technology it is important to keep the installation as simple and easy for service technicians to maintain.

High expectations despite unplanned stops

The journey began when Spica Technology acquired a 20-year-old Nordex N60 1.3 MW wind turbine in Filskov, Denmark, at the end of 2021. Our goals were twofold: to produce environmentally-friendly energy equivalent to or exceeding the energy Spica Technology consumes for our operations and to showcase the purpose and advantages of retrofitting old wind turbines to owners in the industry.

In March 2022, CTO Anders B. Jensen, Electrician Martin Sørensen and Electrical trainee Tobias Jacobsen took the one-hour drive to Filskov, Denmark to lifetime-extend the wind turbine from 2001. The retrofit took four days. Picture 1 and Picture 2 illustrates the transformation of the control system before and after retrofitting.

Before and after wind turbine retrofit

Picture 1 | The Human Machine Interface (HMI) at the front panel in the wind turbine before and after retrofitting with Spica Retrofit Controller.

Before and after retrofit in wind turbine

Picture 2 | Original control system in tower before retrofit, and Spica Control System in tower after retrofitting with Spica Retrofit Controller.

Within the first two months after the purchase, the turbine experienced eight unplanned stops because of failure to the control system. After the retrofit, we had to make further improvements related to the 20-years wear. This for instance included installing central lubrication system on the turbine’s main – and generator bearings. This now gives Spica Technology the possibility to know the level of grease in the reservoir and control the exact amount of lubrication. More improvements were made through the year 2022 – read more here.

Wind conditions: The key factor

While the expectations for 2023 are high, the ultimate factor affecting energy output now remains the wind conditions in Filskov, Denmark. Given that the turbine now operates flawlessly, the wind’s power is the key determinant of its kilowatt-hour (kWh) output. Analyzing the wind speeds recorded at Billund Airport, the closest weather station to our wind turbine (15 kilometers), we can see that the highest kWh production is in January, February, and November, with the summer months producing lower output.

Picture 3 | Graph showing meter per second (m/s) for each month in the years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Source.

Picture 3 and Picture 4 display the average wind speeds recorded in Billund, providing valuable insights into wind conditions over the years.

Picture 4 | Graph showing the average m/s at the wind station in Billund, Denmark of years 2018-2022. Source.

As we analyze the data for January to April from 2018 to 2023 (Picture 5), we remain optimistic about the potential for a significant increase in energy production, despite lower wind speeds recorded in the first four months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. This clearly shows that the first couple of months in 2022 were windier than those same months for 2023.

Picture 5 | Graph showing m/s for months January to April in years 2018-2023. Source.

Wind turbine productivity surpasses facility usage by 15 times

Even with the wind’s variability, the wind turbine continues producing energy. Comparing picture 5 and 6, it is obvious that the less windy first couple of months in 2023 compared to 2022 has an impact on the wind turbine’s produced outcome.

Picture 6 showcases the actual kWh measurements for our wind turbine during January to April 2022 and 2023.

Picture 6 | Actual kWh-measurements for Spicas own wind turbine placed in Filskov, Denmark depicted for January to April for 2022 and 2023.

Comparing the kWh production from 2020 with 2022 (Picture 7), because we do not know 2021-outcome, it shows that the wind turbine has achieved an 5.27% increase in output, even with completely similar average wind speeds for those two years. These results emphasize the satisfying performance achieved through retrofitting and the efficiency of the Spica Control System.

Picture 7 | Graph showing the actual produced kWh’s for Spica Technology’s own Nordex N60 in Filskov, Denmark for years 2018 to 2022. *Please note that the kWh production for 2021 is unknown, so it has been assumed to be the same as the production in 2020, despite the low average m/s for year 2021 (see picture 4). Thus, this estimation comes with a certain level of uncertainty.

As Spica Technology continues to innovate and optimize wind turbine operations, we remain dedicated to delivering cutting-edge solutions that maximize output, reduce downtime, and increase renewable energy production. With an annual production for 2022 of 1,324,657 kWh, our wind turbine generates over 15 times more energy than we utilize in our production and administration facilities in Silkeborg, Denmark. This is of great satisfaction of course, and it supports our goal to produce environmentally-friendly energy exceeding the energy we consume ourselves.

An ongoing commitment to excellence

The future looks even brighter as the turbine now runs at its best, benefitting from the implemented upgrades that enhance its performance. As we eagerly await the results for 2023, we invite you to stay tuned for more updates on our ongoing projects and achievements.

For more information about our retrofit solutions and the Spica Control System, please read more here or reach out to our team.

Let us advance wind performance forward together.