New Automation Method for Wind Turbines Tested


Bringing theory to practice, RWTH and W2E Wind to Energy GmbH have conducted a world's first with a field test in Rostock.


The success of wind turbines is largely determined by their efficient operation, which can be significantly enhanced by a new automation method – model-based predictive control. Research on this method has been conducted in recent years and it is now increasingly accepted in industry as a way to meet challenges in power generation and energy networks. The Institute of Automatic Control at RWTH Aachen University and W2E Wind to Energy GmbH (W2E) have now successfully tested the new method in the world’s first field test of its kind on a wind turbine of the multi-megawatt class. Extensive simulation studies and laboratory tests were carried out before the test.

During the one-week field test at the W2E wind farm in Rostock, Northern Germany, a 3 MW wind turbine was operated by model-based predictive control for the first time. The method uses a mathematical model of the wind turbine to predict the turbine’s behavior a few seconds in advance, making it much easier to compensate for fluctuations in wind speed. Compared to conventional control methods, this is seen as a paradigm shift that can be used to achieve, for example, higher power yields, lower material consumption, and grid stabilization.

Milestone of the Cooperation

"The field test is a milestone in the long-standing cooperation between industry and research," comments Professor János Zierath of W2E, "but we still see a need for research to ensure full plant operation with the new control procedure." Professor Dirk Abel from the RWTH Institute of Automatic Control added: "Our field test is pioneering work in the field of wind turbine control. In addition to the basic function of the automation system, we were able to demonstrate the potential of our test infrastructure from simulation to the real plant. Together, we want to tackle the challenges from theory and practice and spur advanced automation concepts in wind energy."

Source: Press and Communications