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Top Story

New control strategy helps reap maximum power from wind farms

Every two and a half hours, a new wind turbine rises in the U.S. In 2016, wind provided 5.6 percent of all electricity produced, more than double the amount generated by wind in 2010, but still a far cry from its potential. A team of researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas has developed a new way to extract more power from the wind. This approach has the potential to increase wind power generation significantly with a consequent increase in revenue. Numerical simulations performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center indicate potential increases of up to six to seven percent. According to the researchers, a one percent improvement applied to all wind farms in the nation would generate the equivalent of $100 million in value. This new method, therefore, has the potential to generate $600 million in added wind power nationwide. In the branch of physics known as fluid dynamics, a common way to model turbulence is through large eddy simulations. Several years ago, the research team created models that can integrate physical behavior across a wide range of length scales -- from turbine rotors 100 meters long, to centimeters-thick tips of a blades -- and predict wind power with accuracy using supercomputers. The growing power of computers allows the researchers to accurately model the wind field on a wind farm and the power production of each single turbine.

Visit Website | Image credit: Christian Santoni Kenneth Carrasquillo Isnardo Arenas-Navarro and Stefano Leonardi/University of Texas at Dallas