Computer model optimizes wind farm

Jul 25, 2011

A new software from Siemens will improve wind farms’ energy yields and extend their service life. When the wind causes the huge rotors to turn, it generates turbulence, which interferes with the operation of the wind turbines in the rows to the rear. To address this problem, the new software program simulates the behavior of the entire wind farm and adjusts the individual turbines’ performance with one another. According to experts, this could increase the energy yield by several percent, as reported in the latest issue of the research magazine "Pictures of the Future". The same method could also be used to reduce the mechanical stress on the wind turbines, thus extending their service life. The software is currently undergoing endurance testing at Sweden’s Lillgrund wind farm.

Offshore are gigantic; the 48 Siemens turbines in Lillgrund tower 115 meters above the water’s surface. The rotors have a diameter of 93 meters, and the wind causes them to create kilometer-long trails of turbulence. As a result, turbines located behind the first row can’t operate smoothly, causing their electricity output to fluctuate. In addition, the turbulence makes the turbines vibrate, which accelerates the process of wear and tear. A wind turbine is designed to operate for about 20 years. If it can run longer than that, the wind farm can supply more energy without requiring any additional investment. 

Researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology have now developed a computer model that simulates entire wind farms. Using measurements of wind and rotor speeds, temperature, and turbine output, the software calculates airflows and determines the behavior of all of the turbines, enabling it to set the parameters for operating the wind turbines with as little turbulence as possible. The turbines’ output is adjusted by means of the generators and the angle of the rotor blades. To make this possible, all of the turbines are connected to a central control system via optical fiber lines. Even though the system reduces the output of individual wind turbines, it increases the yield of the wind farm as a whole and ensures that turbines located farther back are subjected to less strain. Operators can use the program to optimize either the energy yield or the service life. Alternatively, they can use it to optimally balance both of these parameters with each other. 

Siemens Wind Power has been testing the software in Lillgrund for the past two years. In the fall the model will be optimized on the basis of the collected measurement data, to be followed by a pilot phase. Offshore are part of ’ environmental portfolio, with which the company generated about €28 billion in sales in fiscal year 2010.

Explore further: New battery technology for electric vehicles

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

RWE, Siemens unveil plans for giant Welsh wind farm

Jun 04, 2010

The German power company RWE and industrial group Siemens unveiled on Friday a joint venture to build a giant British offshore wind farm worth more than two billion euros (2.4 billion dollars).

Optimizing large wind farms

Nov 23, 2010

Wind farms around the world are large and getting larger. Arranging thousands of wind turbines across many miles of land requires new tools that can balance cost and efficiency to provide the most energy for ...

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.

Recycling wind turbines

Sep 21, 2007

The development of wind power promises much in terms of providing us with renewable energy for the future and wind turbines could be the most effective way to harness that power. Danish researchers now suggest that in order ...

Noise research to combat 'wind turbine syndrome'

Jun 01, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Adelaide acoustics researchers are investigating the causes of wind turbine noise with the aim of making them quieter and solving 'wind turbine syndrome'.

Recommended for you

New battery technology for electric vehicles

12 hours ago

Scientists at the Canadian Light Source are on the forefront of battery technology using cheaper materials with higher energy and better recharging rates that make them ideal for electric vehicles (EVs).

Company powers up with food waste

Nov 19, 2014

Garden products company Richgro is using Western Australian food waste to power their operations in a new zero-waste system.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

XQZME
1 / 5 (1) Jul 25, 2011
Breaking news - AGW government lobbyists in D.C. report receiving $2 billion in funds from Siemans to promote AGW and subsidize wind farms.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.