Catch the wind

Research team from Oldenburg develops intelligent controls for wind turbines in cooperation with wind farm operator

Testing new methods that increase the energy yield of wind turbines while protecting the turbine components is the goal of a joint project of the Center for Wind Energy Research (ForWind) and the wind farm operator
Ocean Breeze Energy. The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy is funding the recently launched project YawDyn ("Validation of energy yield increases and load reductions in offshore wind farms through adapted dynamic wind direction tracking") with more than 400,000 euro over a period of three years.

Wind turbines generate maximum energy when they turn with their nose directly into the wind. If the wind direction changes, a small wind sensor on the turbine gives a signal to turn. This process – the rotation of the entire nacelle with the rotor blades – is called yawing. Since the wind direction is constantly changing and several tons are moved during each yawing process, it is not sensible for the turbine to react to every short-term change in direction. This is where the project partners see potential for improvement – also to reduce the costs of wind power generation.

"We want to test a new method to make the process for tracking the wind more efficient," says ForWind scientist Dr. Vlaho Petrović. "The method should help to reduce the number of yawing processes in order to protect the individual components of the wind turbine." The system would not wear out so quickly and maintenance costs would be saved.

Another method is intended to increase the energy yield in the wind farm. Here, the nose of the wind turbine is intentionally turned a little out of the wind in order to deflect the unwanted flow behind the turbine – the so-called wake. This way, turbines behind it are not or only partially in the wake of the first one. With such an intelligent control system, the energy yield of the entire wind farm can be increased.

The researchers test the methods in simulations first and in the next step on real wind turbines on land and at sea. "At sea, we are testing the methods on wind turbines in our BARD Offshore 1 wind farm," says project manager Dr. Kai Irschik from Ocean Breeze. "It is technically very challenging to test such new methods on the turbines during operation. To develop and implement the concepts within one project is something special and we are looking forward to the results."

Contact Project Coordination:

Ocean Breeze Energy GmbH & Co. KG
Dr. Kai Irschik
Phone: +49 174 2138977

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