Making Wind Turbines Work Together | AIChE

Making Wind Turbines Work Together


A new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows a way to boost the output of wind farms by making turbines cooperate rather than compete for wind. A strategy called wake steering directs the turbulent wakes of upwind turbines away from downwind units — increasing the energy production of the wind farm overall and potentially allowing turbines to be placed closer together.

Typically, a turbine swivels its rotors to align itself to the best wind direction for its own energy production, an approach known as a greedy control strategy. Turbines in the wake of greedy upwind turbines produce less energy — a phenomenon known as wake loss.

“As wind turbines are extracting energy from the wind, they’re slowing down the wind behind them, and that hurts the efficiency of downstream turbines,” says Eric Simley, a researcher at NREL.

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