Wind Sensing Technology

At present, wind turbines are largely unaware of the wind blowing on their rotor: they are equipped with anemometers and wind vanes installed on the nacelle, which only measure wind speed and direction at that point in space. Therefore, wind turbines are essentially operating in the dark: they have only a very primitive knowledge of the atmospheric conditions, and they ignore whether or not they are shaded by other machines. This lack of awareness clearly hinders the way they are operated.

We are working on changing this situation, developing new technology that can measure the wind conditions at the rotor disk. This is achieved in a radically new way: turning the whole rotor in a large wind sensor, a novel approach that we have termed “wind sensing”. By the use of wind turbine response data, as provided by strain gages or accelerometers installed on the blades or the nacelle, wind sensing technology computes in real-time the wind conditions at each machine. In turn, better knowledge of the wind is used for an improved operation of each wind turbine or the whole wind farm by smart control strategies.

These are some of the key scientific questions we are working on:

  • What wind characteristics can we measure and with which precision?
  • What is the minimum set of sensors that are necessary for measuring the wind inflow?
  • What is the use that can be made of detailed wind information at the rotor disk?
  • What new control approaches can be developed based on wind sensing technology?
  • How can wind sensing improve the way a wind turbine is controlled?
  • And how does wind sensing enable smart wind farm control methods?

Related Projects

  • Industrial project ‘Wind Estimation from Rotor Loads’
  • Industrial project ‘Vertical Wind Shear Estimation from Rotor Loads’
  • H2020 ETN Project AWESOME ‘Wind Energy Operation and Maintenance’
  • EU H2020 project ‘CL-WINDCON – Closed Loop Wind Farm Control’

Seelcted References:

  • F. Campagnolo, V. Petrović, J. Schreiber, E.M. Nanos, A. Croce, C.L. Bottasso, ‘Wind Tunnel Testing of a Closed-Loop Wake Deflection Controller for Wind Farm Power Maximization’, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 753, 032006, doi:10.1088/17426596/753/3/ 032006, 2016.
  • S. Cacciola, M. Bertelè, J. Schreiber, C.L. Bottasso, ‘Wake Center Position Tracking using Downstream Wind Turbine Hub Loads’, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 753, 032036, doi:10.1088/17426596/753/3/032036, 2016.
  • J. Schreiber, S. Cacciola, F. Campagnolo, V. Petrović, D. Mourembles, C.L. Bottasso, ‘Wind Shear Estimation and Wake Detection by Rotor Loads — First Wind Tunnel Verification’, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 753, 032027, doi:10.1088/17426596/753/3/032027, 2016.
  • S. Cacciola, M. Bertelè, C.L. Bottasso, ‘Simultaneous Observation of Wind Shears and Misalignments from Rotor Loads’, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 753, 052002, doi:10.1088/17426596/753/5/052002, 2016.