Design of Wind Turbines

The design of wind turbines is an extremely complex multi-disciplinary activity. In the design process, one must be able to find the best possible compromises from different and often contrasting requirements. In addition, multiple aspects of the problem have profound and complex couplings, including the aerodynamic and structural designs, the control laws used to govern the machine, and the performance and characteristics of all on-board sub-systems.

To address these challenges, we develop automated design procedures implemented in sophisticated software tools, which are capable of performing the integrated aerostructural design of a complete wind turbine. Using these tools, WEI researchers work on answering the following and many other fascinating questions:

  • What are the optimal machine sizes and configurations for a given application?
  • What are the impacts and possible benefits of new technologies, as for example passive and active load alleviation methods? And what are their costs and drawbacks?
  • Are new wind turbine configurations competitive with standard designs, and if so, for which applications? Is there any advantage in downwind, free-yawing machines, pre-aligned rotors, active flaps or in the use of unconventional techniques such as active coning and morphing rotors?
  • Will future extremely large blades look similar to the current ones, or are there better and possibly radically different ways of designing blades?
  • How can we hedge against the myriad uncertainties that plague the design and operation of wind turbines and farms? How can we achieve more robust designs and reduce safety factors?

Related Projects

  • International collaborative project IEA Wind Task 37 ‘Systems Engineering’
  • Industrial Ph.D. project ‘Design of Very Large Light-Weight Rotors’
  • Industrial project ‘Uncertainty Quantification for Large Offshore Wind Turbines’
  • TUM-Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) Ph.D. project ‘Bio-Inspired Wind Turbines for Monsoonal Climates’

Selected References:

  • P. Bortolotti, C.L. Bottasso, A. Croce, ‘Combined Preliminary-Detailed Design of Wind Turbines’, Wind Energy Science, 1:71-88, doi:10.5194/wes-1-71-2016, 2016.
  • L. Sartori, P. Bortolotti, A. Croce, C.L. Bottasso, ‘Integration of Prebend Optimization in a Holistic Wind Turbine Design Tool’, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 753, 062006, doi:10.1088/17426596/753/6/062006, 2016.
  • A. Croce, L. Sartori, M.S. Lunghini, L. Clozza, P. Bortolotti, C.L. Bottasso, ‘Lightweight Rotor Design by Optimal Spar Cap Offset’, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 753, 062003, doi:10.1088/17426596/753/6/062003, 2016.
  • P. Bortolotti, G. Adolphs, C.L. Bottasso, ‘A Methodology to Guide the Selection of Composite Materials in a Wind Turbine Rotor Blade Design Process’, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 753, 062001, doi:10.1088/1742-6596/753/6/062001, 2016.
  • C.L. Bottasso, F. Campagnolo, A. Croce, S. Dilli, F. Gualdoni, M.B. Nielsen, `Structural Optimization of Wind Turbine Rotor Blades by Multi-Level Sectional/Multibody/3DFEM Analysis', Multibody System Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s11044-013-9394-3, 2013.
  • C.L. Bottasso, F. Campagnolo, A. Croce, C. Tibaldi, `Fatigue Damage Mitigation by the Integration of Active and Passive Load Control Techniques on Wind Turbines', Wind Energy and the Impact of Turbulence on the Conversion Process, J. Peinke and S. Ivanell, Eds., Springer, accepted, to appear, 2013.
  • C.L. Bottasso, F. Campagnolo, C. Tibaldi, `Optimization-Based Study of Bend-Twist Coupled Rotor Blades for Passive and Integrated Passive/Active Load Alleviation', Wind Energy, doi:10.1002/we.1543, 2012.
  • C.L. Bottasso, A. Croce, F. Campagnolo, `Multi-Disciplinary Constrained Optimization of Wind Turbines', Multibody System Dynamics, 27:21-53, doi:10.1007/s11044-011-9271-x, 2012.Zasso, P. Schito,
  • C.L. Bottasso, A. Croce, `Aero-Servo-Elastic Design of Wind Turbines: Numerical and Wind Tunnel Modeling Contribution', Environmental Wind Engineering and Wind Energy Structures, T. Stathopoulos, C. Baniotopoulos, C. Borri, Eds., ISBN 978-3-709-10952-6, Springer Verlag GmbH, 2011.