Robust Design of Wind Turbines

This research activity focuses on the uncertainty based multidisciplinary design optimization of the blades of horizontal axis wind turbine rotors. The growing availability of large computational resources and progress of design optimization technologies offer the means to automate significant portions of product design. In the past few years, several studies on the use of diverse optimization techniques for the preliminary design of horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) have appeared. Some of these applications have focused on the optimization of existing blades by means of local search approaches, utilizing low- to medium-fidelity models. Global multi-objective evolution-based search methods have also been used, often to optimize HAWT conceptual designs, and investigate the choice of fundamental HAWT design parameters, such as its rotor diameter, on the economy of whole wind farms. One way in which modern HAWT design could be further improved is by accounting for the effects of environmental, operational and engineering uncertainty throughout the design process. The use of uncertainty management and quantification tools increases computational costs, and this motivates the efforts to develop new approaches allowing these technologies to be efficiently integrated in HAWT design. This work focuses on the development and the application of a methodology to incorporate several sources of uncertainty in the design of HAWT rotors. Accounting for the impact of uncertainty in HAWT design requires the use of numerical methods which can reliably propagate uncertainty throughout the design system without keeping HAWT design computationally unaffordable. On the other hand, during development and testing phases, all new approaches have to be compared to the Monte Carlo reference method, which requires a considerably high number of samples of the models. This is the reason why in this case, HPC facilities are essential. In future, when higher fidelity models will be inserted in the design optimization process through a multi-fidelity approach, the use of HPC facilities will be fundamental to parallelise high fidelity model computations.

For more information about the project contact Dr Edmondo Minisci (edmondo.minisci [at] strath [dot] ac [dot] uk), Lecturer at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. This research work is carried out in collaboration with: Dr M. Sergio Campobasso, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering – Renewable Energy Systems at the  Department of Engineering at the University of Lancaster and Mr Marco Caboni, Doctoral Researcher, Systems, Power and Energy Research Division at School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

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Related Publications:

Caboni, M., Minisci, E., & Campobasso, M. S., “Robust Aerodynamic Design Optimization of Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine Rotors”, submitted to EUROGEN 2013, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 7-9 October 2013.

Minisci, E., Campobasso, M. S. & Vasile, M., ” Robust aerodynamic design of variable speed wind turbine rotors”, ASME Turbo Expo 2012 Technical Conference, June 2012.