Research Projects

      Overview

      eco4wind – Making wind turbines more efficient

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      In the eco4wind project, IAV is working on an intelligent real-time control system for modern wind turbines

      The architecture used for supervisory and closed-loop control of wind turbines has changed relatively little over the last 20 years or so. The "eco4wind" project aims to improve the energy yield of wind turbines, make the supply of energy more reliable and develop new installation sites.

      Project objective

      At the moment, the architecture for supervisory and closed-loop control of wind turbines is based on separation between steady-state operational control and dynamic basic closed-loop control. In the partial load regime, the primary control objective centers on achieving the maximum energy yield (power control). Here, the the power controller is engaged with its manipulated variable "generator torque" to regulate the generator speed to attain the optimum tip-speed ratio.

      At full load, there is a shift in the primary control objective. Here, the focus is put on stabilizing nominal rotor speed (speed control). This is achieved by adjusting the collective pitch angle of all rotor blades accordingly. In addition, generator torque is kept constant so that the turbine feeds in its nominal output.

      Over the course of time, the primary goals in both the “partial load” and “full load” operating regimes have been complemented by secondary control objectives to reduce strain on critical components, a goal which was achieved by introducing additional control loops. However, this evolutionary approach hinders full exploitation of the potential presented by modern wind turbines. The project partners therefore champion the latest research findings from control engineering and automation technology. The focus here is on supplementing the existing turbine automation with a new core module consisting of an innovative, real-time supervisory controller.

      This real-time supervisory controller is configured as a modular system with scope for customizing functionalities for individual turbines and manufacturers, even at a later stage. The aim is to provide a completely new, smart approach to planning and controlling plant dynamics, revolutionizing the conventional way of controlling speed and power output, as well as damping tower and drive train oscillations.

      The higher energy yield in conjunction with lower material costs will reduce the levelized costs of energy (LCOE) by at least two percent. Power supply from wind turbines will also become more reliable: demand for balancing energy will decrease and wind turbines will even be able to provide balancing energy themselves. On top of this, the results from eco4wind will facilitate new turbine designs, which will allow to access previously unprofitable sites.

      Partners
      IAV (coordination), Senvion GmbH, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Albert Ludwig University Freiburg, Ruhr University Bochum

      Funding body
      German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

      Project sponsor
      Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH

      Project duration
      January 2017 to December 2019

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