With 25% of Europe’s wind resource Scotland is a great location for wind power projects. ETP is forging links between Scotland’s world leading universities and the wind power industry to optimise the capacity to produce huge amounts of sustainable, clean energy. Right now ETP is actively working on projects across all areas of wind energy.
ETP expertise in Wind Energy
Operations & Maintenance
Reducing O&M costs is crucial to enabling and accelerating the deployment of off-shore wind. Several research groups across Scotland are investigating novel approaches to Asset Management and Condition Monitoring, through detailed analysis of SCADA data.
Control System design
Modern, large turbines use active pitch control, to regulate the power at above rated wind speeds and to minimise stresses on the turbine. The optimisation of pitch control, specifically looking at what is known as individual pitch control is currently an active research topic within the wind industry today. There are a number of research groups working in this area seeking to develop algorithms that regulates the turbine to cause the least amount of lifetime fatigue damage of the machine.
Large wind turbines rely heavily on composite materials for their blades and other components. Better performance from these composites can lead to bigger blades, longer lifetime and lower LCOE. Research is being undertaken on topics across this field, from the chemistry of sizing, through modelling of debonding and other failure modes, right through to end-of-life recycling of reinforcing fibres.
Generator Design and Power Electronics
Movement towards the use of lower-speed, direct-drive generators, and the use of variable-speed turbines to increase reliability and efficiency, all have the effect of making the power electronics and power conversion requirements increasingly important. Scotland has world-class research capabilities in these areas. There has also been a recent resurgence of interest in HVDC networks, seen as necessary to reduce power losses in intra-farm connections. There are a number of on-going research projects in this area, investigating both system control and power converter topologies.
Wind Modelling and Resource Assessment
In wind farms, a key factor is the wake effect that one turbine has on others downstream. Researchers are using sophisticated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) programs to investigate these effects, so that wind farm operators can site turbines with optimal spacing. CFD can be used to determine likely energy yields for particular turbine sites, and statistical and numerical approaches are being used to enhance the accuracy and usability of wind resource databases.
Scotland has a strong history in Civil Engineering, and research into new foundation designs for offshore turbines will be a key driver in cost reduction. Wave tank resources are used to study novel floating turbines as well as conventional, gravity-based foundations that need to be towed into position. In addition, research into novel, “green” concrete promises more environmentally sustainable foundations.