Best of both worlds: NREL optimizes control and design of new offshore floating turbines | News

NREL optimizes control and design of new offshore floating turbines

Photo of offshore wind turbines floating in the ocean.
The WEIS project will develop a new open source, user-friendly toolset designed to enable offshore floating systems engineers to design entirely new systems at significantly reduced cost. Photography: Senu Sirnivas, NREL

First, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers demonstrate that system-level rather than sequential design optimization can facilitate energy capture while reducing wind turbine system costs and critical loads. This means designing and optimizing the turbine’s control system simultaneously with other system components, rather than waiting until the end of the design process.

Now, NREL and its team of partners and external consultants will incorporate such control co-design principles—simultaneously designing and optimizing all system components, including control systems—into a revolutionary toolset that will enable offshore floating system engineers to design new The system greatly reduces costs. The new open-source, user-friendly toolset will be developed under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Air Turbine Lighting and Floating with Seamanship Technology and Integrated Servo Control (ATLANTIS) program.

The project, which aims to develop a new turbine control system called Wind Energy Integrated Servo Control (WEIS), is one of two other NREL-led ATLANTIS projects that can serve as a resource for the next generation of efficient and cost-optimized floating turbine designs.

WEIS development will use core building blocks, including enhanced versions of the Wind Farm Integrated System Design and Engineering Model (WISDEM), a comprehensive optimization tool for wind energy systems, and OpenFAST, a medium-fidelity multiphysics modeler. , but with significant additional functional capabilities. WEIS is a novel control co-design package that coordinates the different capabilities of a toolset and facilitates the co-design process at multiple levels of model fidelity.

The lowest fidelity level explores new system architectures and passes these candidate designs to the medium and high fidelity levels for detailed co-design. If a design proves unfeasible at these higher fidelity levels, it can be returned to lower fidelity levels for modification. Rigorous model validation using detailed simulations under various wind and wave scenarios with the highest model fidelity.

WEIS will integrate new optimized control paradigms using advanced control actuators and sensors. This toolset will account for the complex nonlinear dynamics of floating wind systems, including their coupling with wind and wave inputs. WEIS aims to be widely used by the floating offshore design community – it will be flexible, open source and modular, allowing users to customize it to their own systems. In line with the ATLANTIS vision, the target criteria for the WEIS toolset is to significantly reduce the mass of turbines, platforms and mooring structures, thereby reducing costs.

WEIS will capture the designs proposed in the ATLANTIS project, making this tool indispensable for innovation in low-cost, efficient offshore wind turbines. A unique aspect of the development of this toolset will be the cross-collaboration between the WEIS development team and other teams in the ATLANTIS program: working with the teams developing the floating system will ensure that WEIS is ready for exploring system architecture and design; to ensure validation Useful experimental data from WEIS and collaboration with teams conducting field testing of offshore floating systems are critical; collaboration with an external advisory board will ensure widespread adoption of WEIS within the offshore floating industry.

The WEIS toolset will be advanced in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and will rely on consultation with a diverse external advisory board of more than 20 organizations. The NREL team that developed WEIS has worked together for many years and together have led the shift to a systems engineering perspective in wind energy.

Learn more about NREL’s offshore wind research.

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