Reducing the loads experienced by wind turbine rotor blades can lower the cost of energy of wind turbines. “Smart rotor control” concepts have emerged as a solution to reduce fatigue loads on wind turbines. In this approach, aerodynamic load control devices are distributed along the span of the blade, and through a combination of sensing, control, and actuation, these devices dynamically control the blade loads. While smart rotor control approaches are primarily focused on fatigue load reductions, extreme loads on the blades may also be critical in determining the lifetime of components, and the ability to reduce these loads as well would be a welcome property of any smart rotor control approach. This research investigates the extreme load reduction potential of smart rotor control devices, namely, trailing edge flaps, in the operation of a 5 MWwind turbine. The controller utilized in these simulations is designed explicitly for fatigue load reductions; nevertheless its effectiveness during extreme loads is assessed. Simple step functions in the wind are used to approximate gusts and investigate the performance of two load reduction methods: individual flap control and individual pitch control. Both local and global gusts are simulated. The results yield important insight into the control approach that is utilized, and also into the differences between using individual pitch control and trailing edge flaps for extreme load reductions. Finally, the limitation of the assumption of quasisteady aerodynamic behavior is assessed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/matthew_lackner/2/