15 March 2012

Vestas Research Partnership in Wind Turbine Control Systems Technology

Vestas partnership poster imageThe Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering is pleased to announce the commencement of a research partnership with Vestas Wind Systems to improving the performance of wind turbine control systems.

Vestas are the largest global manufacturer and installer of wind turbines, generating enough electricity each year to power millions of households worldwide. The research partnership represents an exciting opportunity for ACSE to play a major role in delivering key technologies to the wind energy industry, and contributing to a cleaner, greener future.

Offshore wind power generation is a key component of the UK's commitment to deliver 15% of gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Efforts to meet this target are prompting the design of ever larger turbines. However, the problem of harvesting as much energy from the wind, whilst minimising the aero-structural loading on these enormous structures, poses a major challenge to the wind industry.

A core research team, consisting of Bryn Jones, Simon Pope, Zi-Qiang Lang and Anthony Rossiter, is currently investigating the application of ACSE's extensive expertise in complex systems modelling and control to a number of challenging problems facing the wind-energy industry. As an example, Bryn Jones is investigating the application of advanced multivariable control design methods upon the latest generation of wind turbines. By continuously adjusting the individual pitch of each turbine blade, a feedback control system is being developed that will maximise wind energy extraction, whilst minimising the unpredictable and fluctuating aero-mechanical loads that give rise to costly fatigue-induced damage.