Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc. | Development and Sales of New Lightning Strike Detector for Wind Power Stations-Balancing Safety and Economic Efficiency of Wind Power Stations- - Press Releases(2018)
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Press Release 2018

Development and Sales of New Lightning Strike Detector for Wind Power Stations-Balancing Safety and Economic Efficiency of Wind Power Stations-

April 23, 2018

Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc.
Chubu University
Shoden Corporation

Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (President & Director: Satoru Katsuno; Headquarters: Nagoya City, Aichi) and Chubu University (President: Osamu Ishihara; Location: Kasugai City, Aichi) have jointly developed a low-priced and new lightning strike detector (hereinafter “developed product”) which can, with high accuracy, recognize thunderbolts that hit wind power stations.

Shoden Corporation (President: Mitsuaki Ota; Headquarters: Sumida-ku, Tokyo) will start to market this developed product from June 2018.

When thunderbolts hit wind turbines, areas that frequently experience lightning strikes are obligated to automatically stop turbine structures for the sake of ensuring safety. To meet this end, wind power stations’ turbine structures have lightning strike detectors installed on them. Such detectors, however, often erroneously activate in response to thunderbolts that hit nearby areas, serving as a factor reducing the working ratio and compromising economic efficiency of wind turbines.

A highly accurate detector currently known is the Rogowski coil (note) device, but utilities have been reluctant to introduce the device because of its costliness.

By installing three magnetic field sensors on wind turbines, this developed product can accurately specify which device was struck by lightning based on the size and direction of a magnetic field produced by thunderbolts. A simple structure and easy installation process allowed for balancing high accuracy with low price: a challenge that lightning strike detectors have previously had.

(Note) An approach under which hollow coils (Rogowski coils) are installed around the base of a wind turbine tower, thereby detecting induced currents that run through the coils as a result of magnetic fields being produced by lightning currents.

Key features of new lightning strike detector

1. Highly accurate

The new detector rarely mis-detects lightning strikes, preventing unnecessary wind turbine shutdowns and thereby enhancing economic efficiency. The developed product underwent field tests from October 2017 to March 2018 with actual wind turbines. Testers confirmed that the product accurately operated during all of the eight real-life lightning strikes.

2. Low cost

The developed product can be installed with around one-third to one-tenth of the cost needed for Rogowski coils.

3. Simple installations

With its simple structure, it’s easy to install the new detector. It can be mounted on wind power stations that are already in service too.

4. Excellent for off-shore wind power generation facilities

Inspecting off-shore wind power generation facilities is a time-consuming process because boats are used for equipment rounds. Because this developed product detects lightning strikes and specifies which wind turbine needs inspections in advance, personnel can reduce the time for inspecting off-shore wind power generation facilities.