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Research Papers

Optimal Control of a Wind Turbine With a Variable Ratio Gearbox for Maximum Energy Capture and Prolonged Gear Life

[+] Author and Article Information
Mohamed L. Shaltout

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Texas,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: mshaltout@utexas.edu

John F. Hall

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Texas,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: jfhall@utexas.edu

Dongmei Chen

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Texas,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: dmchen@me.utexas.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received July 29, 2012; final manuscript received January 28, 2014; published online March 04, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Christian Masson.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 136(3), 031007 (Mar 04, 2014) (7 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1189; doi: 10.1115/1.4026676 History: Received July 29, 2012; Revised January 28, 2014

An optimal control approach for a wind turbine drivetrain with a variable ratio gearbox is presented. The objective is to find the optimum shifting sequence of the variable ratio gearbox in order to maximize power generation and extend gear life. The employment of a variable ratio gearbox enhances the capabilities of the wind turbine to cope with wind speed variations. Based on the authors' preliminary study, the gear ratios of the variable ratio gearbox were carefully selected to maximize the wind energy capture. In this paper, a new control approach is proposed to achieve both extended gear service life and optimal energy harvesting. This new approach finds the gear shifting sequence that will minimize the tangential force on the gear tooth while maximizing the wind energy capture. The wind turbine drivetrain with a variable ratio gearbox is modeled and simulation results based on recorded wind data of different wind classes are presented and compared.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

A schematic of a wind turbine drivetrain with a VRG

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Fig. 2

Power curve for a 6 gear ratios wind turbine model versus a single gear ratio model

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Fig. 3

The effect of changing the gear ratio on the tangential force on the gear tooth

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Fig. 4

The effect of changing the value of the weight factor from 0 to 1 on the (a) gear shifting profile, (b) power generation, and (c) tangential force on the gear tooth

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Fig. 5

The effect of changing the weight factor on the generated power drop as compared to the unity weight factor case and on the tangential force ratio rise as compared to zero weight factor case

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Fig. 6

One day sample of two wind class sites

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Fig. 7

The effect of changing the value of the weight factor, for two wind class sites, on (a) the generated power and (b) the tangential force ratio

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Fig. 8

The effect of changing the value of the weight factor, for two wind class sites, on (a) the percentage change in the generated power and (b) the tangential force ratio

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Fig. 9

Simulation results of the wind class 7 site (a) gear shifting profile, (b) generated power profile, and (c) the tangential force on the gear tooth profile

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Fig. 10

Simulation results of the wind class 3 site (a) gear shifting profile, (b) generated power profile, and (c) the tangential force on the gear tooth profile

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