Wind Turbine Simulator

NSF ATE Troubleshooting and Safety Simulator for Wind Turbine Technician Training

Project funded by NSF Award #1601707

The Problem:

The nation is facing a critical shortage of wind turbine technicians skilled in effective and safe troubleshooting strategies. With wind energy employers struggling to find qualified technicians, new methods of education and training are needed to meet the nation’s wind energy demands. Troubleshooting is a key skill that many current and prospective wind turbine technicians lack, resulting in significant downtime and lost energy production. Furthermore, the limited ability of students to apply concepts from the classroom to real world scenarios is a serious issue, and is compounded by hazardous conditions.

Project Objectives:

This project is developing an interactive 3D simulator incorporating numerous fault-based troubleshooting and safety scenarios in real world situations and education modules to provide students with opportunities to practice and refine troubleshooting strategies while assuring safety. The project’s goals are to develop teaching modules for troubleshooting strategies and safety through a web-based simulator, to use said simulator in existing community college courses for specific troubleshooting and safety learning objectives, and to assess the effectiveness of the simulator and its derivative formats for improving learning objectives.

The Expected Outcome:

The wind turbine simulator will be a fully functioning wind turbine with an associated SCADA system and advanced troubleshooting capabilities built in the Unity 3D game engine.

The simulator is being used to develop scenarios that a technician may encounter on a real wind farm. This will be useful for training technicians in troubleshooting and critical thinking to reduce wind turbine downtime.

(From left to right) Inside of the turbine nacelle,  the main menu screen, the PPE selection rack in the virtual warehouse

To access the simulator, contact civs@pnw.edu.