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Integrative Control and Design Framework for an Actively Variable Twist Wind Turbine Blade to Increase Efficiency

[+] Author Affiliations
Hamid Khakpour Nejadkhaki, John F. Hall

University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Paper No. DETC2018-86098, pp. V02AT03A004; 10 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2A: 44th Design Automation Conference
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, August 26–29, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5175-3
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


A methodology for the design and control of a variable twist wind turbine blade is presented. The blade is, modular, flexible, and additively manufactured (AM). The AM capabilities have the potential to create a flexible blade with a low torsional-to-longitudinal-stiffness ratio. This enables new design and control capabilities that could be applied to the twist angle distribution. The variable twist distribution can increase the aerodynamic efficiency during Region 2 operation. The suggested blade design includes a rigid spar and flexible AM segments that form the surrounding shells. The stiffness of each segment and the actuator placement define the twist distribution. These values are used to find the optimum free shape for the blade. Given the optimum twist distributions, actuator placement, and free shape, the required amount of actuation could be determined. The proposed design process first determines the twist distribution that maximizes the aerodynamic efficiency in Region 2. A mechanical design algorithm subsequently locates a series of actuators and defines the stiffness ratio between the blade segments. The free shape twist distribution is selected in the next step. It is chosen to minimize the amount of actuation energy required to shape the twist distribution as it changes with Region 2 wind speed. Wind profiles of 20 different sites, gathered over a three-year period, are used to get the free shape. A control framework is then developed to set the twist distribution in relation to wind speed. A case study is performed to demonstrate the suggested procedure. The aerodynamic results show up to 3.8 and 3.3% increase in the efficiency at cut-in and rated speeds, respectively. The cumulative produced energy within three years, improved by up to 1.7%. The mechanical design suggests that the required twist distribution could be achieved by five actuators. Finally, the optimum free shape is selected based on the simulations for the studied sites.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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