Active Aerodynamic Load Control for Wind Turbines
Active Aerodynamic Load Control for Wind Turbines is an ARPA-e funded project to explore the concept advanced plasma actuators and controls to reduce aerodynamic loads on wind turbine blades, facilitating the next generation of larger (20+ MW), smarter wind turbines. The technology contains no moving parts, instead using purely electrical plasma actuators on the blade that set the adjacent air in motion when powered. This system can change the lift and drag forces on turbine blades to reduce blade mechanical fatigue and enable the design of larger and cheaper blades.
The actuators control the airflow’s shape and speed as it passes over the blade, enabling turbines to react quickly to changes in the wind and limiting peak blade bending or tip deflections. As a result, designers will be able to employ longer blades without adding structural reinforcement. The new plasma actuators will also pave the way for using control co-design techniques to find wind energy solutions with a much lower LCOE.