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in a Wind Farm

Cristian Vasar,

Octavian Prostean,

Ioan Filip, Dan Popescu

Raul Robu Department of Mathematics,

Department of Automation and Applied Informatics, Politehnica University from Timisoara,

Politehnica University from Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania

Timisoara, Romania

cristian.vasar@aut.upt.ro

Abstract— The paper proposes Markov models for the reliability frame of the design process of a wind farm, there must be

analysis of the wireless sensor networks with standby backup assess technical issues such as: components reliability, grid

elements. There are presented the theoretical aspects and some of connection, ground conditions etc which may affect the

the variables that are used in the domain of fault tolerant development and implementation of wind farms. [1]

systems. There has been conducted a study regarding the

reliability of system versus cost price, considering different In the design algorithm of a wind farm, an important stage

number of hot redundant spare parts. Reliability evaluation is represented by the study of components reliability. The

techniques are important in the context of design and analysis of sensor reliability presents, in this case, a significant

sensitive information gathering sensor networks importance, but at the same time the problem can be solved by

using redundancy. The advantages are evident, avoiding a

Keywords-Reliability, Markov model, fault tolerant sensor possible damage of the windmill and optimizing the generation

network. of renewable energy. The large dimensions of the wind farm

wide impose the usages of a redundant sensor network,

I. INTRODUCTION distributed on a wide area, and obviously communication using

radio and not wires.

A wireless sensor network (WSN) is a set of spatially

distributed autonomous unwired sensors (devices) powered In industrial process monitoring, it is very important to

with battery and equipped with integrated sensors, data distinguish between a sensor failure and a system failure

processing capabilities and short-range radio communication proactive condition monitoring of a wind farm. The sensor

that jointly monitor physical or environmental conditions, such validation framework is designed for monitoring complex

as: temperature, sound, pressure, motion, etc at different site equipment systems; this is achieved by validating the sensor

locations. WSNs are commonly used for monitoring and data, associating a degree of validity with each measurement,

detection of significant events in different environments, on identifying faulty sensors and detecting incipient sensor

large areas. Each sensor collects information from the failures. The methodology uses information from a sensor

surrounding environment, performs basic processing and individually, information from the sensor as part of a group of

transmits the data to the user using the network infrastructure. sensors, sensor properties and attributes and the immediate

history of the process that is being monitored.

Wireless sensor networks can be used both for determining

the environmental conditions (especially for a wind farm, Sensors are susceptible to a wide variety of failures, from

determining the wind speed, essential for maintaining the possible hardware or software malfunctions under normal

turbines in optimal parameters and respective a maximum situations, to those caused by severe weather conditions or

efficiency of the energy generation), and for monitoring of a other harsh physical environment in the sensor field. Therefore,

normal functioning of the wind turbine in order to avoid there is associated a non-negligible failure probability to every

possible damages under harsh conditions or their malfunction. type of sensor and it is essential to build a fault tolerant WSN

In the respect of this idea, one of the weak points of the that is able to continuously provide yielded services regardless

considered system could be sensor malfunction itself that stops of sensor failures. [2]

providing information or provide inaccurate information. The

main objective for a wind farm designer is to maximize the WSN failures can be classified in node and network

energy harvested within the bounds places on it by constraints, failures. A sensor node failure can occur due to component

such as environmental, financial and technical issues. In the wear-out, power failure or depletion, and natural catastrophes.

The network can fail due to collision, interference and Usually, the failure rate for various components is

jamming. [3] determined from handbook data, on-site failure-rate data, or

WSN needs to perform, in a timely manner, under life test data provided by component manufacturers. The WSN

interferences, attacks, accident and failures in hostile overall reliability is superior since a large part of the

environments while strong resource constraints in the sensor constituent components are microelectronics circuits that have

node make conventional protection mechanisms, which are a very low failure rate.

applicable to traditional network and information system, Thus in most situations the modeling of the lifetime

infeasible. [4] span of the components is performed by using the monotonous

hazard rate (gamma, Weitbull), generally, in the case of

II. RELIABILITY AND MEAN-TIME-TO-FAIL modeling of the life time cycle of an industrial product, there

can be noticed three distinctive phases, in which the failure

Different models on achieving fault tolerance are rate presents an different behavior. Therefore, in the first

considered assuming that only one failure occurs at a time and running phase – in the start-up period, there can be noticed a

the failure of the components are independent. This is not a

higher failure rate, that decreases whilst the product is

very restrictive assumption since two failures that occur in the

operating. This is the case of normal functioning period – the

same moment can be considered to occur consecutively. There

are circumstances that are fault dependent: power fluctuations, maturity period, characterized mainly by the low value of the

temperature variations, etc, but we assume that any two faults failure rate function, and finally afterwards the product out

are independent. Therefore it can be stated that any two events reaches the nominal functioning time period – at the ageing

are disjoint in term of probabilities. period, the product presents an increased value of the failure

rate function. [8] In this case, the model has the shape depicted

One significant quality issue that should be nowadays taken in Figure 1 and is referred in technical literature as “bath-tube”

into consideration in developing wireless sensor networks type model[9][10]

applications is the ‘reliability’ of application services. The

specific characteristics and constraints of WSNs require a

different and adapted interpretation of this factor when

developing applications for such networks. Reliability is

defined as the probability that the system functions properly

and continuously in the interval [0,τ], assuming that it was Failure

operational at time 0. [5] rate

Early Constant Failures Wear-out

is functional at t=0, and If the system fails at moment t=Tf failures failures

then:

0 Time

⎧1, if 0 ≤ t < T f

R(t) = ⎨ (1) Figure 1. Failure rate

⎩ 0, if t ≥ T f Sometimes, the complete information on failure behavior is

not needed and it is more suitable to characterize a failure

WSNs should present reliability differentiation to sustain

model or set of failure data by using only a single parameter.

different reliability degrees in order to suit the requirements of

Thus, the reliability can be represented by the mean time to

different applications regarding throughput, latency and

failure (MTTF) rather than the more detailed reliability

energy consumption. [6]

function. A point estimate (MTTF) is given as a substitute for

The Markov model for reliability of a system is based on

the complete time function, R(t). If there is available

two concepts: the possible states of the system, and the

information on a population of n items with failure times t1,

transitions between the states. The failed state is annotated as

t2,... , tn, then the MTTF is defined by the following equation:

F. The reliability of the system is defined to be as its

probability to be in any other state except F; it is the

1 n

probability of being in any state other than F (which is the sum

of the probabilities of each state), or 1 – probability of the

MTTF = ∑ti

n i =1

(3)

system to be in the F state.

The failure rate is defined as the number of failures per Considering hazard models for errors and the fact that the

time unit [7]: mean value of a probability function is given by the expected

value (denoted with E(t)) of the random variable, defined over

dR(t) the range a < t ≤ b with density function f (t), MTTF is given

by the integral of the product of the random variable (time to

λ = dt (2) failure) and its density function. Considering the time range

R(t) from 0 to infinity, performing mathematical manipulation

involving the integration by parts technique leads to a simpler N

expression [11]:

b ∞

Where l = ∑n + k .

i =1

i

a 0

P0 (0) = 1, P1 (0) = ... = Pk (0) = Pk +1 (0) = 0 .

The system can be solved using Laplace transform, and

III. MARKOV MODELS FOR NETWORK provide the following solutions:

RELIABILITY 1

P0 ( s ) =

The considered WSNs, consists of N different types of s + lλ

sensors, and k universal standby redundant elements that can

instantly replace any type of elements that are defective. They

are considered to be hot-spares, and they can replace without lλP0 ( s )

P1 ( s) =

delay the failed element. After the spares swap a module, it has s + (l − 1)λ

the same failure rate as the replaced module. In order to

achieve a better reliability of the whole system, one solution is # (6)

to improve the quality of the components or another one is to (l − k + 1)λPk −1 ( s)

increase the number of available spares. Pk ( s) =

s + (l − k )λ

Taking into account the uncertainty that characterize a

system failure, it is convenient to use probabilistic techniques (l − k )λPk ( s)

to model the deterioration, considered as a discrete time Pk +1 ( s ) =

stochastic process. s

In Figure 2 there is depicted the Markov model for a WSN

which leads to the expression:

consisting of ni sensor of type Ti where i=1…N, and k

universal standby redundant elements (denoted with R) that can

instantly replace any type of elements that are defective. l (l − 1)(l − 2).......(l − k + 1)(l − k )λk +1

Pk +1 ( s ) = (7)

H

k

Σniλi+ H

k-1

Σniλi+ Σniλi+ H0 Σniλi F s( s + lλ )( s + (l − 1)λ )............( s + (l − k )λ )

Σni Σni Σni FAIL

kR +kλ R (k-1)R +(k-1)λR +λR

To compute the inverse Laplace transformation of Pk +1 ( s ) it

Figure 2. Markov model for N types of sensors with k spares

is very convenient to use the calculus of residues, which leads

In order to determine the corresponding reliability function, to:

nres

it is considered, for the sake of simplicity, that all components

have the same failure rate λ ( λi = λR = λ , for i =1...N). Pk +1 (t ) = ∑ Res{Pk +1 ( s )e st , ak }

k =1

(8)

Considering the finite set of the (k+2) possible mutually-

exclusive states {Hk , Hk −1,...,H1 , H0 , F} , the probability where ak k = 1, nres are the poles of equation (7). [12]

distribution over these states, for the above Markov model, is For a simple pole ak the corresponding residue is given by

given by the vector

the relation:

P (t ) = [ P0 (t ), P1 (t ), P2 (t ),..., Pk (t ), Pk +1 (t )] .

Res{Pk +1 ( s )e st , ak } = lim ( s − ak ) Pk +1 ( s )e st (9)

s → ak

The differential equations system that describes the model

from Figure 1 is:

using (8) and (9) results:

⎛ P0 ⎞ ⎛−lλ 0 0 # 0 0 0⎞⎛ P0 ⎞

⎜ ⎟⎜ ⎟⎜ ⎟ Pk+1(t) = lim(s − 0)Pk+1 (s)est + ∑lim(s − si )Pk+1 (s)est (10)

⎜ P1 ⎟ ⎜ lλ −(l −1)λ 0 # 0 0 0⎟⎜ P1 ⎟ s→0

i

s→si

⎟⎜ ⎟ (5)

= where si = −(l − i )λ , i = 0...k so:

dt⎜ # ⎟ ⎜ # # # # # # #⎟⎜ # ⎟

⎜P ⎟ ⎜ ⎜ ⎟

⎜ k⎟ ⎜0 0 0 # (l −k+1)λ −(l −k)λ 0⎟⎟⎜ Pk ⎟ Pk+1(t) =1+

⎜P ⎟ ⎜ 0 0 0 # 0 (l −k)λ 0⎟⎠⎜⎝Pk+1⎟⎠

⎝ k+1⎠ ⎝ k

l(l −1)(l − 2)...(l − i +1)(l − i −1)...(l − k) −(l−i)λt (11)

+ ∑(−1)i+1 e

i=0 (1⋅ 2⋅ ...⋅ i) ⋅ (1⋅ 2⋅ ...k − i)

and using reliability definition R(t ) = 1 − Pk +1 (t ) results k=8 k=7

k

k=5

k ∏(l − j) k=6

R(t) = ∑(−1)k−i

j=0

e−(l−i)λt (12) k=3

i=0 (l − i) ⋅ (k − i)!⋅ i! k=4

defined for any real number t ≥ 0, is the function F(s), defined

by: k=1

∞

F ( s ) = L { f (t )} = ∫ f (t )e −st dt (13)

k=0

0

rewritten as:

Figure 3. Reliability values for k dedicated spares

∞

MTTF = ∫ R (t )dt = R * ( s ) s =0 (14) The same WSN structure was considered to compute the

0

values of MTTF (measured in seconds), but the number of

universal standby spares used was varied from 0 to 100 spares.

where R * ( s ) is the Laplace image of function R (t ) .

The corresponding value of the MTTF is depicted in Figure

As a result, the network mean time to failure is given by: 4. Like in the previous figure, it can be noticed the benefit of

using additional spares over the network overall lifetime.

k

1 1

MTTF = ⋅∑ (15)

λ N

i =0

∑n

j =0

j +i

The simulation study was performed to investigate the

influence of the number of redundant spares on the overall

reliability of the network.

It was considered a wireless sensor network constituted

from 90 sensors of different type. Each considered type

contains 9 sensors. The number of redundant hot spares was

varied from 1 to 8. Also it was considered the case of a

network without redundant spares.

Figure 4. MTTF values for a WSN with different number of spares

All network components, both active and spares, are in the

maturity period, and the failure rate is constant, equal with 5 Considering the fact that all components have the same

failures at 106 seconds. This is a not restrictive since in wind unitary cost (u.c.) it can be calculated the cost indicators

farms, due to the large areas covered, is recommended to avoid presented in Table 1: Efficiency ratio and the Relative gain

the usage of components that exceeds their nominal lifetime, or coefficient.

components that did not pass a minimal burn-in process.

Efficiency ratio is computed as the MTTF divided by the

The resulted reliability curves for the considered cases are total cost of the network.

depicted in Figure 3.

Relative gain coefficient of the considered network is

There can be concluded that the higher number of defined as its efficiency ratio divided by the value of the

redundant hot spares are used the overall reliability function is efficiency ratio corresponding to the case of “no redundancy”.

enhanced.

TABLE I. MTTF AND COST INDICATORS the wind farm overall efficiency and to minimize the losses due

Indicator MTTF Efficiency Relative gain to usage of low reliability components.

Cost

Mode [105 s] ratio coefficient

90

No spares 0.222

u.c. 0.002466667 1

91

1 spare 0.4420

u.c. 0.004857143 1.969111969

92 REFERENCES

2 spares 0.6594

u.c. 0.007167391 2.905699177

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