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, USA

John Hall

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

1Corresponding author.

ASME 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 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.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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