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Custom sensor solutions

Thijs Haselhoff, New Business Development Manager at Althen Sensors & Controls, talks to PES about the latest sensor solutions for offshore windfarms, and how the newest Quick Connect feature for fibre optic sensors makes instrumenting offshore as easy as ABC.

PES: Welcome to PES Wind. Can you briefly introduce your company?

Thijs Haselhoff: Altheris Sensors & Controls BV (Member of the Althen Sensors & Controls group) is your specialized partner for sensors, instrumentation, measurement systems and industrial joysticks. We offer solutions for OEM, Test & Measurement, Industrial Automation, and IoT Applications. We turn every measurement challenge into a sensor solution.

PES: Please can you tell us about Althen Sensors & Controls and the partnership with Opsens Solutions?

TH: Roughly three years ago, we started a partnership with Opsens Solutions to be their sensor expert partner in Western Europe. Opsens is a leader in the development of fibre optic sensors based on White Light Polarisation Interferometry (WLPI).

Together with them we developed the best custom sensor solutions for the European market. The WLPI fibre optic solutions are immune to EMI, lightning, temperature and RF. Also the sensors have no drift over time and they are temperature independent which make them perfect for long term monitoring applications in remote areas such as offshore wind parks.

PES: Can you expand on the measurement challenges facing wind farms?

TH: Maintenance on offshore locations is extremely costly. This is a very big opponent to wind turbine energy developing into a durable renewable energy source. Reliable monitoring systems can prevent frequent maintenance and also extend the wind turbine’s lifetime.

With these sensor-monitoring systems there are a couple of challenges when it comes to instrumenting offshore foundations and monopiles of such wind farms.

One of the challenges is to instrument structures or parts of the windmill after they are constructed offshore. In the construction phase of the foundation and the placing of the monopiles, there is no room for sensitive materials such as fibre optic sensor and cables.

Another challenge is that the sensors that are applied need to survive very harsh conditions when being placed on the foundation or on the structure of the pile. The fibre optic Quick Connect technology is the ideal solution.

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