The project measures complex flow fields to make more intelligent wind farms.
Texas Tech University scientists have brought the wind power industry one step closer to its potential with the creation of a system to measure wind flow and control turbine-to-turbine interaction for maximum power generation.
National Wind Institute (NWI) faculty affiliate John Schroeder and research professors Brian Hirth and Jerry Guynes have brought the measurement system online at the NWI field site. Funded by a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the system is designed to make relevant measurements of complex flow fields in the lower atmosphere. In particular, the new system is designed to measure intra- and inter-wind plant flow fields.
“Understanding the complex flow field in the lower atmosphere is foundational information required to make more intelligent wind plants,” said Schroeder, a professor in atmospheric science. “A wind turbine interacts with the flow field, creating a wake. As that wake translates downstream it impacts other wind turbines. Right now this technology is the best tool available to understand how the wind turbines/plants modulate the flow field and impact each other. Hence, this technology can provide information to help increase the performance of wind plants and essentially lower the cost of energy.”
The new instrument builds upon NWI’s pioneering success of using radar measurements to document complex wind flow fields within wind plants. Originally, the project team used the existing Texas Tech Ka-band (TTUKa) mobile Doppler radars to make these measurements. While successful, the TTUKa radars were limited in their ability to provide useful data in some atmospheric conditions. The objective of the new project is to translate the developed techniques to a new transformative instrument, which could be used in a wider variety of atmospheric conditions.