Model predictive control of trailing edge flaps on a wind turbine blade

Publication: ResearchPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2012

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Trailing edge flaps on wind turbine blades have been investigated for several years. Aero-servoelastic simulations carried out with different simulation tools, trailing edge flaps configurations and controller designs proved that trailing edge flaps are a suitable solution for reducing some of the wind turbine fatigue and extreme loads. This potential was confirmed with wind tunnel tests made on blade sections with trailing edge flaps and on a scaled two-bladed wind turbine in a wind tunnel. The work presented in this thesis includes a full-scale test run on a Vestas V27 wind turbine equipped with three trailing edge flaps on one blade, located on DTU’s Risø Campus in Roskilde, Denmark.

This thesis is divided into three parts: the controller design, results from simulations, and results from the experiments.

The trailing edge flaps controller designed for this project is based on a frequency-weighted model predictive control, tuned in order to target only the flapwise blade root loads at the frequencies contributing the most to blade root fatigue damage (the 1P, 2P and 3P frequencies), and to avoid unnecessary wear and tear of the actuators at high frequencies. A disturbance model consisting in periodic disturbances at the rotor speed harmonic frequencies and a quasi-steady input disturbance is aggregated to an analytical model of a spinning blade with trailing edge flaps.

Simulations on a multi-megawatt wind turbine show the potential of the trailing edge flaps to reduce the flapwise blade root fatigue loads by 23%, but also the main shaft and the tower fatigue loads by up to 32%. Extreme loads during normal production also benefit from the trailing edge flaps.

At last, the same controller was run on the Vestas V27 wind turbine located at the Risø Campus of the Technical University of Denmark, in Roskilde, Denmark. One blade of the turbine was equipped with three independent trailing edge flaps. In spite of the failure of several sensors and actuators, the test of the trailing edge flaps controller described in this thesis showed a consistent flapwise blade root fatigue load reduction. An average of 14% load reduction was achieved during a 38 minute test. However, the experiment also highlighted the weaknesses of the controller. The trailing edge flap controller should be made more adaptive in order to cope with the very different wind conditions that can be expected on-site.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark. Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy
Number of pages133
StatePublished

Note re. dissertation

The project was partially funded by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (Højteknologifonden) through the ATEF project (grant 028-2007-3)

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