Computer program for reducing the cost of offshore wind energy

December 16, 2013

The costs of generating electricity through wind farms at sea still need to be lower. Researcher Michiel Zaayer of TU Delft has developed a program that can help. On Monday 16 December, he will defend his doctoral dissertation on this topic at TU Delft.

Costs need to be lower

In terms of technology, it is not a problem to use at sea to generate electricity. There is another problem, however: the of this form of energy still need to be lower. Researcher Michiel Zaayer is certain that, in the future, we can expect further cost reductions for this technology, which is currently still new.

In his doctoral research, Zaayer addresses two challenges in this area. "The first challenge involves the difficulty of optimising the system as a whole, because are multi-disciplinary by nature and because they consist of many components. The second challenge is that the design of the wind turbine is not prepared simultaneously with the design for the wind farms in which they will be installed."

Program

The optimisation of the design plays a central role in both of these challenges. The wind turbine affects the costs of many elements of a wind farm at sea, including the structure upon which it will be built, the electric cabling, installation, maintenance and, most importantly the production of electricity.

"It is difficult to estimate the exact effects when designing the wind turbine", explains Zaayer. "We have therefore developed a method for estimating the effects that a wind turbine is likely to have on the performance of a wind farm at sea. The method is based on a computer program that automatically designs a farm for a wind turbine entered by the user. By varying the data entered, the user can determine which wind turbine will yield the lowest costs."

Case study

The method has been tested with a case study and a review by a number of industrial users. The results of the indicate that the method can indeed result in a better wind turbine. The test users recognise the utility of the program as well. "The use of the program also stimulates deeper cooperation between the marketing division and the engineering division. This might require some companies to adjust their usual manner of working."

Explore further: Getting to the bottom of wind turbine noise

Related Stories

Shifting winds in turbine arrays

October 22, 2013

Researchers modeling how changes in air flow patterns affect wind turbines' output power have found that the wind can supply energy from an unexpected direction: below.

Recommended for you

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

August 28, 2015

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead ...

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

0 comments

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.