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Research Papers

An Integrated Control and Design Framework for Optimizing Energy Capture and Component Life for a Wind Turbine Variable Ratio Gearbox

[+] Author and Article Information
John F. Hall

Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Buffalo–SUNY,
Buffalo, NY 14260

Dushyant Palejiya, Mohamed L. Shaltout

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712

Dongmei Chen

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

1Present address: Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-4400.

2Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received August 19, 2013; final manuscript received February 9, 2015; published online February 27, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Yves Gagnon.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 137(2), 021022 (Apr 01, 2015) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-13-1235; doi: 10.1115/1.4029812 History: Received August 19, 2013; Revised February 09, 2015; Online February 27, 2015

Small wind turbines are a promising technology that can provide renewable power to rural and remote communities. In order to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of small wind technology, it is necessary to maximize the wind energy capture and to prolong the turbine system life. Accordingly, this paper presents an integrated development framework that optimizes component design goals, including durability and minimal gearbox mass, with the control objective of producing maximum energy over the turbine system’s 20-yr life. This study focuses on the wind turbine gearbox, which plays a critical role in achieving high efficiency and extended system life. A variable ratio gearbox (VRG) previously developed by the authors is used as an example to demonstrate the methodology. In this paper, an algorithm developed for optimizing the VRG gear ratio is integrated with the design selection of commercially available gears, which will be used to construct the VRG gearbox. The proposed multi-objective framework is capable of identifying the optimal gearsets based on a trade-off between selecting gearsets that maximize wind turbine efficiency and choosing gearsets that best meet the design requirements.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Gear configuration of the six-speed VRG for a wind turbine

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Fig. 2

Typical trends for module three gearsets, showing the ratio (top left), total mass (top right), centerline mounting distance (bottom left), and ratio granularity (bottom right)

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Fig. 3

Endurance limit based on the ratio of applied to allowable loading [38]

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Fig. 4

Procedure for finding valid gearset combinations for a given set of wind sites

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Fig. 5

Mean energy loss and gearset mass data for combinations considered in the objective function for sites 1 through 18 (top) and sites 19 and 20 (bottom)

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