Research Papers

Modeling and Design Method for an Adaptive Wind Turbine Blade With Out-of-Plane Twist

[+] Author and Article Information
Hamid Khakpour Nejadkhaki

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

John F. Hall

Department of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering,
University at Buffalo—SUNY,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: johnhall@buffalo.edu

1Corresponding 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 December 13, 2017; final manuscript received April 24, 2018; published online May 29, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Douglas Cairns.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 140(5), 051010 (May 29, 2018) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-17-1491; doi: 10.1115/1.4040104 History: Received December 13, 2017; Revised April 24, 2018

A modeling framework to analyze a wind turbine blade subjected to an out-of-plane transformation is presented. The framework combines aerodynamic and mechanical models to support an automated design process. The former combines the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) aerodyn software with a genetic algorithm solver. It defines the theoretical twist angle distribution (TAD) as a function of wind speed. The procedure is repeated for a series of points that form a discrete range of wind speeds. This step establishes the full range of blade transformations. The associated theoretical TAD geometry is subsequently passed to the mechanical model. It creates the TAD geometry in the context of a novel wind turbine blade concept. The blade sections are assumed to be made by additive manufacturing, which enables tunable stiffness. An optimization problem minimizes the difference between the practical and theoretical TAD over the full range of transformations. It does so by selecting the actuator locations and the torsional stiffness ratios of consecutive segments. In the final step, the blade free shape (undeformed position) is found. The model and design support out-of-plane twisting, which can increase energy production and mitigate fatigue loads. The proposed framework is demonstrated through a case study based on energy production. It employs data acquired from the NREL Unsteady Aerodynamics Experiment. A set of blade transformations required to improve the efficiency of a fixed-speed system is examined. The results show up to 3.7% and 2.9% increases in the efficiency at cut-in and rated speeds, respectively.

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Fig. 4

Search range created by the original blade TAD

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Fig. 5

Configuration for blade model used in mechanical design optimization problem

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Fig. 6

Mechanical design process varying the stiffness ratio (dotted lines) of a section to match the TAD of the aerodynamic design (solid curved line)

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Fig. 7

Area between TAD curves for Sec. 3, at a wind speed of 7 m/s

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Fig. 3

Framework for active blade twist angle distribution

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Fig. 2

The pitch and local twist angles at the length, r, from the hub center

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Fig. 1

The variable twist modular blade concept

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Fig. 8

Design variables to optimize the practical twist distribution

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Fig. 9

Algorithm used to find the blade free-shape

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Fig. 10

Optimum twist angle as a function of radius and wind speed

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Fig. 11

Range of transformation with respect to free position



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