Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new algorithm improves the efficiency of small wind turbines

18.03.2014

In recent years, mini wind energy has been developing in a spectacular way.

According to estimates by the WWEA-World Wind Energy Association, the level of development of the mini wind energy industry is not the same as that of the wind energy industry, although forecasts are optimistic. The main reason is that the level of efficiency of small wind turbines is low.

To address this problem, the UPV/EHU’s research group APERT (Applied Electronics Research Team) has developed an adaptative algorithm. The improvements that are applied to the control of these turbines will in fact contribute towards making them more efficient. The study has been published in the journal Renewable Energy.

Small wind turbines tend to be located in areas where wind conditions are more unfavourable. “The control systems of current wind turbines are not adaptative; in other words, the algorithms lack the capacity to adapt to new situations,” explained Iñigo Kortabarria, one of the researchers in the UPV/EHU’sAPERT research group.

That is why “the aim of the research was to develop a new algorithm capable of adapting to new conditions or to the changes that may take place in the wind turbine,” added Kortabarria. That way, the researchers have managed to increase the efficiency of wind turbines.

The speed of the wind and that of the wind turbine must be directly related if the latter is to be efficient. The same thing happens with a dancing partner. The more synchronised the rhythms of the dancers are, the more comfortable and efficient the dance is, and this can be noticed because the energy expenditure for the two partners is at a minimum level.

To put it another way, the algorithm specifies the way in which the wind turbine adapts to changes. This is what the UPV/EHU researchers have focussed on: the algorithm, the set of orders that the wind turbine will receive to adapt to wind speed.

“The new algorithm adapts to the environmental conditions and, what is more, it is more stable and does not move aimlessly. The risk that algorithms run is that of not adapting to the changes and, in the worst case scenario, that of making the wind turbine operate in very unfavourable conditions, thereby reducing its efficiency.

Efficiency is the aim

Efficiency is one of the main concerns in the mini wind turbine industry. One has to bear in mind that small wind turbines tend to be located in areas where wind conditions are more unfavourable. Large wind turbines are located in mountainous areas or on the coast; however, small ones are installed in places where the wind conditions are highly variable.

What is more, the mini wind turbine industry has few resources to devote to research and very often is unaware of the aerodynamic features of these wind turbines. All these aspects make it difficult to monitor the point of maximum power (MPPT Maximum Power Tracking) optimally.

“There has to be a direct relation between wind speed and wind turbine speed so that the monitoring of the maximum point of power is appropriate. It is important for this to be done optimally. Otherwise, energy is not produced efficiently,” explained Iñigo Kortabarria.

Most of the current algorithms have not been tested under the conditions of the wind that blows in the places where small wind turbines are located. That is why the UPV/EHU researchers have designed a test bench and have tested the algorithms that are currently being used —including the new algorithm developed in this piece of research— in the most representative conditions that could exist in the life of a wind turbine with this power.

“Current algorithms cannot adapt to changes, and therefore wind turbine efficiency is severely reduced, for example, when wind density changes," asserted Kortabarria.

“The experimental trials conducted clearly show that the capacity to adapt of the new algorithm improves energy efficiency when the wind conditions are variable,” explained Kortabarria.“ We have seen that under variable conditions, in other words, in the actual conditions of a wind turbine, the new algorithm will be more efficient than the existing ones."

Elektronika, Energia berriztagarriak, Ikerketa-zentroak, Ingeniaritza, Matematika, Unibertsitateak

Notes

The Applied Electronics Research Team APERT comprises lecturers and researchers in the Electronics Technology area of the Department of Electronics Technology. They all carry out their activities at the Faculty of Engineering in Bilbao (UPV/EHU).They have two main lines of research: the line of reconfigurable circuits and systems-on-a-chip, and the line of power control circuits for energy converters. This line is based on the use of the latest, high-capacity FPGAs to incorporate digital systems into a single integrated circuit. Furthermore, the advances achieved are applied to specific needs emerging in the other areas of research the APERT works on. The second line of research is geared towards the design and study of the behaviour of power electronics systems used in the process to generate, transform and store electrical power and its application to renewable energy sources. In addition, this second line of research is sponsored by the collaboration agreement which the APERT group has signed with the Tecnalia Research & Innovation foundation.

Internet reference

www.ehu.es

References

I.Kortabarria, J. Andreu, I. Martínez de Alegría, J. Jiménez, J.I. Gárate, E. Robles. “A novel adaptative maximum power point tracking algorithm for small wind turbines”. (2014) Renewable Energy 63: 785-796 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148113005673

Oihane Lakar | EurekAlert!

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers pave the way for ionotronic nanodevices
23.02.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor
22.02.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>