Probabilistic design optimization of horizontal axis wind turbine rotors

Caboni, Marco (2016) Probabilistic design optimization of horizontal axis wind turbine rotors. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Considerable interest in renewable energy has increased in recent years due to the concerns raised over the environmental impact of conventional energy sources and their price volatility. In particular, wind power has enjoyed a dramatic global growth in installed capacity over the past few decades. Nowadays, the advancement of wind turbine industry represents a challenge for several engineering areas, including materials science, computer science, aerodynamics, analytical design and analysis methods, testing and monitoring, and power electronics. In particular, the technological improvement of wind turbines is currently tied to the use of advanced design methodologies, allowing the designers to develop new and more efficient design concepts. Integrating mathematical optimization techniques into the multidisciplinary design of wind turbines constitutes a promising way to enhance the profitability of these devices. In the literature, wind turbine design optimization is typically performed deterministically.
Deterministic optimizations do not consider any degree of randomness affecting the inputs of the system under consideration, and result, therefore, in an unique set of outputs. However, given the stochastic nature of the wind and the uncertainties associated, for instance, with wind turbine operating conditions or geometric tolerances, deterministically optimized designs may be inefficient. Therefore, one of the ways to further improve the design of modern wind turbines is to take into account the aforementioned sources of uncertainty in the optimization process, achieving robust configurations with minimal performance sensitivity to factors causing variability.

The research work presented in this thesis deals with the development of a novel integrated multidisciplinary design framework for the robust aeroservoelastic design optimization of multi-megawatt horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) rotors, accounting for the stochastic variability related to the input variables. The design system is based on a multidisciplinary analysis module integrating several simulations tools needed to characterize the aeroservoelastic behavior of wind turbines, and determine their economical performance by means of the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). The reported design framework is portable and modular in that any of its analysis modules can be replaced with counterparts of user-selected fidelity. The presented technology is applied to the design of a 5-MW HAWT rotor to be used at sites of wind power density class from 3 to 7, where the mean wind speed at 50 m above the ground ranges from 6.4 to 11.9 m/s. Assuming the mean wind speed to vary stochastically in such range, the rotor design is optimized by minimizing the mean and standard deviation of the LCOE. Airfoil shapes, spanwise distributions of blade chord and twist, internal structural layup and rotor speed are optimized concurrently, subject to an extensive set of structural and aeroelastic constraints. The effectiveness of the multidisciplinary and robust design framework is demonstrated by showing that the probabilistically designed turbine achieves more favorable probabilistic performance than those of the initial baseline turbine and a turbine designed deterministically.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Horizontal axis wind turbine design, multidisciplinary design optimization, robust design optimization, wind turbine aeroservoelasticity, uncertainty propagation, environmental uncertainty
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Campobasso, Dr. M. Sergio and Thomson, Dr. Douglas
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Dr. Marco Caboni
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7338
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2016 13:53
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2016 10:28

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