Optimization of Small Wind Turbines for Gusty Wind Resources of Northern Canada

Wind gust and turbulence reduce the aerodynamic efficiency and structural life-time of wind turbines. Manufacturers of modern wind turbines seek to implement techniques that can reduce the fluctuations of aerodynamic loads and structural vibration. Wind turbines with variable rotational speed and full-span pitch control have been proven to be efficient in handling slow variations in wind speed. The adaptability of these turbines to variations of inflow speed has led to smoother torque peaks, regulated power, and lighter blade and structure. However, these techniques are not able to respond to fast variations of inflow due to gusts and turbulence. The proposed research project aims at operation of small utility wind turbines in the most efficient manner in the gusty condition of remote communities in Northern Canada. This project will focus on the characterization of wind fluctuations at several locations in Northern Canada, development of a predictive inflow model, and implementation of active control on wind turbine blades.