Wind Energy around Eskdalemuir
In Dumfries and Galloway, Southern Scotland, the Eskdalemuir Seismic Array (EKA) plays a crucial role in monitoring vibrations from atomic weapons testing. It’s the only site of its kind in the UK and is vital for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
To safeguard EKA’s sensitivity, a 10 km exclusion zone and a 50 km consultation area around the array prevent wind turbine construction. Wind turbines must adhere to a vibration budget, which considers factors like turbine type and distance from EKA. Building a wind turbine within the consultation zone requires:
- Measuring existing vibrations at the site before turbine installation.
- Determining the Seismic Impact Limit (SIL) by measuring an equivalent reference turbine in a similar location.
- Checking the completed installation to ensure it complies with the set seismic vibration limits.
Throughout this process, Xi Engineering assists with deployment scenarios, mitigation planning, and liaising with stakeholders, including the MoD, the Scottish Government, and the Eskdalemuir working group.
Xi Engineering Consultants have helped a wide variety of clients to successfully overcome barriers which can slow the progression of projects of any scale in the wind sector.
The energy generated from wind turbines is a significant power source in the renewables industry. With ever evolving legislation, investment and advancement of technologies, agility has become key in navigating the landscape of the wind sector.
Xi has extensive experience in providing design, noise and vibration solutions for all scales of wind turbines and work with a variety of stakeholders in the sector, including developers, manufacturers, regulatory bodies and residential communities.
Using sophisticated analysis and modelling techniques, Xi are able to assess wind turbines in order to improve designs and reduce unwanted noise and vibration problems.
Xi provide a wind range of engineering services to the wind energy sector including:
- Wind turbine acoustic measurement and assessment in accordance with ISO 61400.
- Seismic ground vibration measurements and modelling to determine the impact of wind turbine vibrations on ultra-sensitive scientific equipment such as seismic stations used for nuclear testing monitoring, gravitational wave detectors and astronomical observatories.
- Wind turbine noise surveys.
- Wind turbine noise damping.
- Tonal and broadband noise mitigation solutions that reduce the acoustic impact of wind turbines on neighbouring communities.
- Drivetrain design support including finite element analysis of fatigue risk.
- Lifetime extension analysis based on the fatigue life of towers and foundations.
- Generator design support including finite element modelling of electromagnetic and structural interactions.
- Underwater noise modelling associated with the installation and operation of offshore wind turbines and its impact on the marine environment.
- Expert witness testimony related to noise and vibration from wind turbines at public inquiries.
The opportunity afforded by marine energy will go a long way to help the UK and the rest of the world achieve ambitious carbon reduction targets. If marine equipment is to harness and also survive the enormous power of the ocean it is vital that a design is mechanically robust and reliable. Knowledge and experience in dynamics and vibration are therefore essential for risk mitigation and minimising operational and maintenance costs.
Through working with project partners, Xi Engineering provide comprehensive assessments of tidal power generating structures and the interactions within their components. These assessments minimise costs, allowing potential fatigue issues to be highlighted and any modifications to be carried out. Providing solutions to marine vibration matters requires a depth of specialist knowledge as well as the ability to carry out dynamic analysis and modelling. This approach allows Xi to design pre-emptive solutions for vibration issues before they become vibration problems.
Xi supports the design of marine energy converters through:
- Analysis of vibration issues resulting from the excitation of the nacelle and substructure of the turbine wake effects during blade pass.
- Analysis of vibration issues resulting from frequency-matching between rotational machinery with all major structural elements.
- Calculation of structural resonance due to add-mass effects of water.
- Bespoke design and interpretation of condition monitoring systems.
- Advice and sourcing of isolation for key device components.
Xi is often called upon to contribute their expert knowledge to Environmental Impact Assessments and have experience in providing support to marine Energy Planning Applications. In order to achieve this, Xi carries out underwater noise calculations related to the installation, operation and decommissioning phases of marine energy projects.
The application of finite element models together with acoustic beam trace and boundary element method simulations are fundamental methods used by Xi to assess operational noise levels within marine energy converters. Xi is acknowledged to be world leaders in the use of these methods, which additionally incorporate the effects of bathymetry and seabed type. Through incorporating the outputs of these models with ambient noise measurements, the results are used to predict the range at which operational noise is masked by background noise, which allows the collision risk with marine species and other marine users such as submarines to be assessed.
Oil & Gas
Noise and vibration fill the environment of oil and gas installations and excessive levels of either can have an impact on the reliability and efficiency of the surrounding machinery and be detrimental to a person’s health and safety
Maintaining satisfactory vibration levels is therefore not only desirable but vital for running a sustainable and viable site.
The quantity, complexity, and interactions of the many vibration sources typically found on an installation immediately provides challenges. Predicting interactions and establishing the root cause of a vibration may be non-trivial. By applying Xi’s extensive range of techniques in measurement and modeling, Xi can shed light and discover the core of issues allowing solution approaches to be designed that minimise the exposure to noise and vibration.
Xi work both at onshore and offshore facilities and, as well as diagnosing and resolving issues, can assist with establishing condition monitoring routines, or resolving challenges identified from existing monitoring routes.
For each project, Xi assess client’s vibration concerns on the specific project’s merits. Utilising any or all of Xi’s core measurement and modeling skills, Xi can be relied upon to provide understanding and resolution.
Xi have the correct tickets to be able to work in high risk environments as guided by clients.
As with all rotating industrial machinery hydro power plants are prone to vibration and as with all power generation, preventing downtime is critical.
Xi Engineering bring their experience of industrial process and rotating machinery and apply it to hydro sites. Whether it is a specialist measurement to diagnose and quantify unusual behaviour or in the specification installation and operation of longer term condition monitoring systems, Xi can apply their capability to quickly and efficiently resolve and prevent issues and costly downtime. Xi’s particular expertise lies in vibration and dynamics. Extending upon more traditional routine tests Xi can look at anything from; casing vibration, Operational Deflection Shape (ODS) analysis, torsional and shaft vibration, to shaft and axial run-out. To support field measurement Xi can also simulate plant behaviour allowing us to look at internal shaft and blade behaviour as well as wider structural responses that would otherwise be highly costly and potentially impossible to physically test.
Noise and vibration is a fact of life in all complex industrial installations due to the wide variety of dynamic machinery systems that are used. When problems arise they can be very serious and lead to costly plant degradation or structural failure as well as health and safety issues. The integrity and reliability of engineering systems are particularly important for nuclear sites.
Xi Engineering specialise in advanced diagnostic and modelling services to help clients minimise the risk of noise and vibration problems occurring in the first place and to address them when they do arise. The Xi team’s core competency is providing clients, across a wide variety of industries, with solutions to complex and difficult dynamic engineering challenges. This goes well beyond measurement and analysis to provide cost-effective mitigation options using specialist analysis and modelling techniques.
Xi can provide independent assurance of system designs in relation to vibration and seismic survivability risks, as well as helping the suppliers of dynamic systems to address operational problems with equipment in service. This is particularly important to Tier 2 contractors on nuclear sites who have overall responsibility for particular systems or structures that may be subject to excessive dynamic loads. Ownership of the problem will most likely be delegated to the Tier 3 suppliers of sub-systems and suppliers of machinery so there is a collective interest in providing independent assurance at the engineering design stage of projects.