A Methodology for Robust Load Reduction in Wind Turbine Blades Using Flow Control Devices


Decades of wind turbine research, development and installation have demonstrated reductions in levelized cost of energy (LCOE) resulting from turbines with larger rotor diameters and increased hub heights. Further reductions in LCOE by up-scaling turbine size can be challenged by practical limitations such as the square-cube law: where the power scales with the square of the blade length and the added mass scales with the volume (the cube). Active blade load control can disrupt this trend, allowing longer blades with less mass. This paper presents the details of the development of a robust load control system to reduce blade fatigue loads. The control system, which we coined sectional lift control or SLC, uses a lift actuator model to emulate an active flow control device. The main contributions of this paper are: (1) Methodology for SLC design to reduce dynamic blade root moments in a neighborhood of the rotor angular frequency (1P). (2) Analysis and numerical evidence supporting the use of a single robust SLC for all wind speeds, without the need for scheduling on wind speed or readily available measurements such as collective pitch or generator angular speed. (3) Intuition and numerical evidence to demonstrate that the SLC and the turbine controller do not interact. (4) Evaluation of the SLC using a full suite of fatigue and turbine performance metrics.

Mayank Chetan
Mayank Chetan
Wind Energy Researcher

Current research interests include wind turbine structures, aero-elasticity and loads analysis.