Back in December 2021, Spica Technology’s two owners, Anders B. Jensen and Benny Thomsen, decided to buy their own wind turbine. Through the past 10 years, Spica has positioned itself as Europe’s leading company within retrofitting wind turbines. This is where the idea to retrofit their own turbone arose. This resulted in the purchase of a Nordex N60 1,3 MW in Filskov, Denmark.
We are the company who age-wise has retrofitted most wind turbines in Europe, which is why we thought of producing our own electricity from a turbine with the prospect of being replaced. With the purchase of this turbine, our company becomes even greener and at the same time we make sure of an extended lifetime for the turbine of at least 15 years.
CEO at Spica Technology, Benny Thomsen (February 2022)
The first two months
After two months as turbine owners, Anders and Benny draws the conclusion: in two months the turbine has experienced eight unplanned stops because of failure in the control system. As a turbine owner, these unnecessary stops are to avoid since it equals lost production, expenses for service calls and thus a decrease in income. Next step is therefore to, as planned, optimize the Nordex turbine with their own control – Spica Retrofit Controller. The purpose of buying the turbine is for them to have their own user-case, which can give a clear picture of the yearly production of an elderly turbine before and after an upgrade of the control system.
Now we have a clear picture of the turbine in operation before the update, so we look forward to reducing the many stops to a minimum after the upgrade with Spica Retrofit Controller. This is also what we experienced from other turbines with our control system.
Anders B. Jensen, CTO at Spica Technology (April 2022)
Produces electricity 99% of the time
Optimization of the Nordex N60 turbine went (almost) as planned. The project lasted three days and involved replacement of the old controller to our own Spica Retrofit Controller. Sensors and measurement parts, which make it possible to automatic control of the turbine, were also replaced. Even though Spica has installed their own controller in nearly 100 turbines before, there are risks of minor problems following the proces. In this case Benny and Anders, shortly after installation, experienced a yaw stop on the turbine, which quickly was solved during one single visit. Now the turbine runs perfectly, and where we before the upgrade experienced eight unplanned stops over the first two months, they have only experienced one stop since the upgrade with the Spica Retrofit Controller. Their expectation is that no more stops will occur – just as they have experienced with former retrofitted turbines.
It has not been possible to measure the extended outcome produced in KW yet, since the spring in Denmark has been surprisingly still.
Benny Thomsen (June 2022)
Yet another upgrade
As a natural extension of the installation of the new controller called Spica Retrofit Controller in the turbine, Spica Technology has given the turbine yet another upgrade. Installation of central grease on the turbine’s generator has been made. Now Spica can follow the turbine’s grease measurement from the office in Silkeborg since the turbine now has an automatic grease pump. This gives them full control, so they know when there is a leak or if the pump runs dry.
By installing central grease, it is pumped into the turbine’s generator in intervals. This gives it the best conditions possible. When manually greasing a turbine, the grease is given all at once. This means that the grease level is good at first but decreases over time. The automatic grease pump makes sure of a uniform amount, which thus life extends the turbine further.
Anders B. Jensen (August 2022)
Satisfied despite several repairs
As expected when buying a 20 year old Nordex N60 turbine there are both repairs and maintenance. A service technician made a routine check of the gear box, where the oil test showed a high amount of metal particles. This means that the oil is to be replaced. Simultaneously a gear box expert found some of the parts of the gear box were worn out. This explains the high level of metal particles in the oil, and thus the parts must be replaced before the oil is changed. Luckily the rest of the gear box is in outmost fine shape when considering the turbine’s age.
We knew it was an old wind turbine – it was the reason we bought it. There has not been much wind in a long time, which is why there has not yet been large amounts of electricity to collect. But we have primarily experienced service visits since the retrofit. The first two months before installing the system, we had eight unplanned stops. Thus we are still very satisfied.
Anders B. Jensen (October 2022)
Anders and Benny look back at their first year as turbine owners
Almost a year ago, Benny and Anders started their journey with being turbine owners for the first time. The first adjustment was retrofitting the turbine with Spica Retrofit Controller. Several improvements have been made underway since then. Installation of central grease on the turbine’s generator, replacement of a yaw caliber as well as replacement of some gear box parts and oil. Considering the age of the turbine, this was all to be expected.
Now we should not experience more major repairs, but we are excited for 2023. You never know about a 20 year old wind turbine. But it has been flawless between repairs, and it now produces the KW it should. This is why we expect 2023 to be a year with fewer repairs.
Anders B. Jensen (November 2022).
No news is good news
It is now February 2023 and Spica Technology’s 20-year old wind turbine is still running. Ever since the last replacement was made (approximately five months ago), there has been zero unplanned stops. This is compared to the first two months, the turbine was owned by Spica, and two months before the installation of Spica Retrofit Controller. Here the Nordex N60 experienced eight unplanned stops. This actually means that no news is good news. Later this year, we plan to share the produced kWh with you.
Stay posted for more news regarding the retrofit of the 20 year old Nordex N60 turbine
Spica Technology will continue sharing thoughts, insights and experiences with the retrofitted 20-year old Nordex N60 1,3 MW wind turbine.