UMT-80 Research on Mt. Tom

Remote Turbine Control and Data Acquisition Systems:  Reliable operation of remote wind turbines places special requirements on the turbine control, communication, and sensor systems.  These requirements include the need for 1) information for analyzing turbine performance and operation and for identifying problems, 2) controller flexibility and user friendliness, and 3) adequate controller and sensor design to protect against problems.  RERL is using the Mt. Tom turbine to test new approaches for the control and operation of turbines at remote sites.  RERL has also specified and installed new sensors to protect turbines against problems, especially those related to cold weather conditions.  In this effort RERL has developed a complete sensor, control and data acquisition system that provides remote operators with instantaneous operating information and remote data collection.

Yaw Damper Tests:  The turbine on Mt. Tom is a downwind machine, meaning that the rotor is located downwind of the tower.  Such turbines can follow the wind (or "yaw") as the direction changes.  Under certain conditions the yaw motion should be slowed with a damper.  Sponsored by Atlantic Orient Corporation (AOC) of Norwich, VT, and DOER, a unique AOC developed damper design is being tested on the Mt. Tom turbine.  If successful, this damper design will benefit other turbine manufacturers.  The yaw damper design could be generalized and used with other turbines of similar configuration.

Teetered Rotor Optimal Hub Geometry Tests:  It is not uncommon for mid-sized wind turbines to have a rotor with two blades.  In such machines the hub (to which the blades are attached) is often mounted on trunion pins so that the blades can teeter into or out of the plane of rotation.  In most turbines with teetering hubs the angle of the trunion pins with respect to the axis of the blades is fixed.  The Mt. Tom wind turbine trunion pin angle can be altered to reduce forces acting on the machine under certain conditions.  RERL is performing a series of tests that will help to better understand and characterize the turbine's response to varying pin angle.  With optimal hub geometry, two bladed wind turbines have the potential of being more cost effective than the more common three bladed counterparts.  A more extensive set of tests, possibly with a modified turbine hub, would be of great value in determining the best hub configurations.

Advanced Control for Variable Speed Turbines:  An innovative concept for controlling variable speed wind turbines has been developed by a group working with Northeast Utilities (NU).  This concept has the potential for improving the operation of such wind turbines.  An extensive program is underway to fully develop the controller concept and integrate it with the controller of the RERL wind turbine on Mt. Tom.  Operation of wind turbines at variable speed has the potential of increasing the energy output while decreasing the loads.  The NU concept, which incorporates fuzzy logic, has the advantage of being adaptable as well being able to improve generator efficiency.  These new control system principles may be useful to a wide range of wind turbine manufacturers.

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