The way has been cleared for mega wind turbines of 20 MW

Apr 15, 2011

The present largest wind turbines have a capacity of 5-6 MW. Following five years of research at the joint European project UpWind, led by Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, the Technical University of Denmark (Risoe DTU), scientists now can present the first design basis for developing mega wind turbines of 20 MW.

The EU project UpWind started five years ago with an ambitious plan: more than 120 wind scientists' efforts and a budget of 23 million Euro were to provide the answer to the big question: Is it possible to build a 20 MW wind turbine using the methods and materials we know today? One single wind turbine of this type in the North Sea would provide for 15,000 to 20,000 dwellings.

Is it technically possible and economically feasible?

There are 16,000-20,000 components in a wind turbine, and they're obviously not all analyzed in the project. The researchers focused on the main components in to find answers to two fundamental questions: Is it technically possible to build a 20 megawatt wind turbine? Is it economically feasible to build it?

"The overall conclusion we can draw from the UpWind project is that if you built a 20 MW wind turbine based on existing technologies and methods, it will be 15-20 percent more expensive than today's wind turbines. I find that far from discouraging, for immediately I would expect that such a simple upscaling would give even higher energy prices, "says Peter Hjuler Jensen, Risø DTU, who has been in charge of the project.

An intelligent wind turbine blade is one of the solutions

Risø DTU and DTU Mechanical Engineering has significantly contributed in the development of aeroelastic design methods for wind turbines of up to 20 MW. Aeroelastic methods are used to calculate the wind turbine's dynamic response to turbulence in the wind. In the UpWind project, Risø DTU and DTU Mechanical Engineering studied aeroelastic methods, materials, management and regulation and many other technologies to be developed for designing a 20 M wind turbine.

Risø DTU has contributed very significantly to UpWind through the development of smart rotor blades with trailing edge-regulation. That means that the trailing edge of the blade can move up and down like flaps on an airplane.

"We have worked on developing several different types of sensor systems such as pitot tubes which are also used to measure the wind speed of aircrafts. Should we introduce these innovations to existing wind turbines, they would probably be more expensive, but if they are implemented on very large turbines the savings from load reductions probably would be competitive. Our conclusion is that upscaling opens up for new technologies, "says Peter Hjuler Jensen.

Various types of movable trailing edges for turbine blades and different mechanisms for activating the trailing edge movement have been tested, and the aerodynamic properties of the movable trailing edge have been studied in wind tunnels.

Laser technology to measure wind conditions

The second area in which Risø DTU has been making a substantial contribution to UpWind, is in the development of LIDAR technologies. A LIDAR measures the properties of the wind by means of laser beams. When UpWind started, Risø was the only research institution with a prototype of LIDAR to measure wind speed and with applications in wind energy research.

"During the five years of the UpWind project we have succeeded in developing the technology from this first prototype to a total of more than 200 LIDARs, of which 40 have been calibrated at Risø DTUs test station in Høvsøre in the western, more windy part of Denmark. LIDARs has now been developed into a stage where they easily can compete with the traditional anemometers used to measure wind speeds, and in amazingly short time, we managed to start using this new technology, says Peter Hjuler Jensen.

"You can imagine the difference between the two methods by thinking of a football field. With an anemometer you can measure the wind conditions in an area corresponding to the dot in the middle of the football field. The LIDAR is able to measure the wind on the whole football field in one go," says Peter Hjuler Jensen. It will open up new opportunities to gain insights into the wind turbulence, which affects wind turbines. Risø DTU has further explored the possibility of placing the LIDAR in the hub of a wind turbine, where it will be possible to let the LIDAR regulate the trailing edge. This would reduce fatigue and extreme loads on wind turbines.

Explore further: Turning bio-waste into hydrogen

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smart wind turbines can predict the wind

Jan 05, 2010

Risø DTU researchers have recently completed the world’s first successful test on a wind turbine with a laser-based anemometer built into the spinner in order to increase electricity generation.

Recommended for you

Turning bio-waste into hydrogen

20 hours ago

Whilst hydrogen cars look set to be the next big thing in an increasingly carbon footprint-aware society, sustainable methods to produce hydrogen are still in their early stages. The HYTIME project is working on a novel production ...

Economical and agile offshore construction ship

Jul 25, 2014

Siemens is currently installing the power supply and propulsion systems into a new multi-purpose offshore construction ship for Toisa Ltd. The ship, which is being built by the Korean company Hyundai Heavy ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

georgejmyersjr
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
"Good, better, best" might not necessarily mean "bigger". In the archaeology testing around a current wind farm on a mountain ridge, near Sleepy Hollow Rd., in the federal U.S. Green Mountain National Forest, nearby Bennington, Vermont it was seen to be replaced by new turbines as tall as the Statue of Liberty. There were some local objections. This newer use of LIDAR might help with the siteing and design, though why on the taxpayers property is still a question in my mind and local opinion, bear country.
sender
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
Would rather see lasers used for plasmon surface ionization and liquefaction of nitrogen made renewable by wind turbines, turboshaft intake vents and refridgeration/convection.

http://en.wikiped..._Vehicle

http://en.wikiped...g_engine
spacer
1 / 5 (4) Apr 15, 2011
The Canadian invention of Gravity Control can be used to generate power at 1 cent per Kilowatt. A power Station would cost a fraction of a Nuclear plant or that Megawatt Wind Generator.
Can be built anywhwere for any demand. No pollution, no noise, no fuel needed after start-up.
It is based on the technology of the Flying Saucer.
These spheres under a Saucer are the propulsion units.
A Unit like that could be used to push (e.g.) a weight of hundred or even thousand ton to any height with very little power. When the weight is released it could be used to generate thousands of Kilowatts.
look at < One Terminal Capacitor Joseph Hiddink