by Jérôme Strasilla
In October 2015 I had the opportunity to spend one month at Loughborough University, working together with the coordinator of the Wind Empowerment network, Jon Sumanik-Leary. My work within the Wind Empowerment network and the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network (LCEDN) was part of a placement within the Pioneers into Practice Programme by Climate-KIC, a project focused on climate innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Before arriving in Loughborough I was working at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) in Kassel, Germany, in the field of reliability and maintenance strategies of commercial wind turbines. Prior to that I also participated in a workshop held by Hugh Piggot in 2013 while I was working as a trainee at Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy in Denmark. During this workshop I could gain experience in building a Small Wind Turbine from scratch which was a great experience.
During my placement at the Wind Empowerment Network and the LCEDN, I was doing research for a paper related to the maintenance of decentralized renewable energy systems (DRE) for rural electrification. We discovered that most of the systems (including locally manufactured small wind turbines, LMSWT) were not operating to their full potential due to a lack of maintenance and monitoring. The results will be summarized in a paper that will get published soon.
Related to the work of the Wind Empowerment Maintenance Working Group I was also engaged in reviewing the first version of the maintenance manual that was set up by Gaël Cesa, the coordinator of the maintenance activities of Wind Empowerment. On this basis we developed a working- and business-plan for a second edition of the maintenance manual. We specified the content and the layout of the manual and also identified financing possibilities for the work required to put the second edition into practice. Read the proposal and working plan:
It was a great experience to work in a field related to small wind turbines, to have insight in the Wind Empowerment Network and also to get in contact with the protagonists of the Wind Empowerment. Furthermore I was glad to combine two topics that I had already been involved with (maintenance and reliability of commercial wind turbines and self manufactured small wind turbines).
I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the great time I had, working within the Wind Empowerment network.