Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineers Study How Hills, Nearby Turbines Affect Wind Energy Production

15.12.2011
Hui Hu pulled a model wind turbine from the top of an office filing cabinet.

The turbine tower was just 10 inches high. Its three blades were 10 inches in diameter. It was a perfect 1:320 scale reproduction of the 80-meter diameter wind turbines spinning across Iowa, the country’s second-ranked state in installed wind power capacity.

That mini turbine is helping a research team led by Hu, an Iowa State University associate professor of aerospace engineering, understand how hills, valleys and the placement of turbines affect the productivity of onshore wind farms.

While the wind industry has data about offshore turbine performance over flat water – especially from European studies – Hu said there’s little data about the effects of uneven ground on wind turbines.

And so Hu and his research team have created the mini turbines and started running tests in Iowa State’s $1.25 million Aerodynamic/Atmospheric Boundary Layer Wind and Gust Tunnel.

“We want to work with the wind turbine industry to transfer some of our findings,” Hu said. “We can help boost total energy capture. And we can lengthen the lifetimes of wind turbines, making them more efficient.”

The research team led by Hu includes Richard Wlezien, professor and Vance and Arlene Coffman Endowed Chair in Aerospace Engineering; Partha Sarkar, a professor of aerospace engineering, of civil, construction and environmental engineering, and director of Iowa State’s Wind Simulation and Testing Laboratory; Zifeng Yang, a former Iowa State post-doctoral researcher and now an assistant professor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; Wei Tian, a post-doctoral research associate in aerospace engineering; and Ahmet Ozbay, a graduate student in aerospace engineering.

The engineers’ studies are supported by a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development.

The researchers are using wind tunnel tests to quantify the characteristics of surface winds over hilly terrains, determine the best placement of wind turbines on hilly terrains and find the best design for large wind farms on hilly terrains.

Experiments include:

• Mini generators mounted inside the mini turbine nacelles measure power production

• Sensors mounted at the base of the mini turbines measure the wind loads placed on turbines and turbine towers

• Advanced flow measurements such as particle image velocimetry (which uses a laser and camera to take nearly simultaneous images that show the movement and velocity of individual particles) to measure wind flow fields, the wind vortices created by the tips of turbine blades and the total wind energy captured by the blades.

Hu said preliminary results indicate that wind turbines on hilly terrain are hit with much higher wind loads than turbines on flat terrain. The experiments also show that, compared with turbines on flat ground, wind flowing over hilly terrain recovers its power potential more rapidly as it moves from turbine to turbine.

Data from the wind tunnel indicate a turbine on flat ground in the wake of another turbine at a distance equal to six times the diameter of the turbines loses 13 percent of power production. A turbine in the wake of another with the same downstream distance on hilly ground loses 3 percent of power production.

“That means you can put wind turbines closer together in hilly terrain,” he said.

In November, Hu, Yang and Sarkar published the first paper about their wind-turbine studies – “Visualization of the tip vortices in a wind turbine wake” on the Journal of Visualization’s website. The three researchers also presented findings of their turbine wake studies at the June 2011 Applied Aerodynamics Conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The project’s next steps include building a nine-turbine array in Iowa State’s big wind tunnel to study power production and wind flows through a mini wind farm.

Hu is confident that data from the experiments can be valuable as more and more wind farms are built across Iowa and the country.

“These studies are telling us things we didn’t know before,” Hu said. “And this will help optimize the design of wind turbine layouts with consideration of the terrain.”

Mike Krapfl | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Open, flexible assembly platform for optical systems
23.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

nachricht A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies

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: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>