Research Papers: Design Automation

A Methodology to Synthesize Gearbox and Control Design for Increased Power Production and Blade Root Stress Mitigation in a Small Wind Turbine1

[+] Author and Article Information
Hamid Khakpour Nejadkhaki

Department of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
University at Buffalo,
State University of New York,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: hamidkha@buffalo.edu

Amrita Lall

Department of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, NC 27606
e-mail: alall@ncsu.edu

John F. Hall

Department of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
University at Buffalo,
State University of New York,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: johnhall@buffalo.edu

2Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received August 30, 2016; final manuscript received May 18, 2017; published online June 27, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Massimiliano Gobbi.

J. Mech. Des 139(8), 081404 (Jun 27, 2017) (11 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1605; doi: 10.1115/1.4036998 History: Received August 30, 2016; Revised May 18, 2017

Large wind turbines typically have variable rotor speed capability that increases power production. However, the cost of this technology is more significant for small turbines, which have the highest cost-per-watt of energy produced. This work presents a low-cost system for applications where cost and reliability are of concern. The configuration utilizes the fixed-speed squirrel cage induction generator. It is combined with a variable ratio gearbox (VRG) that is based on the automated-manual automotive transmission. The design is simple, low cost and implements reliable components. The VRG increases efficiency in lower wind speeds through three discrete rotor speeds. In this study, it is implemented with active blades. The contribution of this work is a methodology that synthesizes the selection of the gearbox ratios with the control design. The design objectives increase the power production while mitigating the blade stress. Top-down dynamic programming reduces the computational expense of evaluating the performance of multiple gearbox combinations. The procedure is customizable to the wind conditions at an installation site. A case study is presented to demonstrate the ability of the strategy. It employs a 300 kW wind turbine drivetrain model that simulates power production. Two sets of wind data representing low and high wind speed installation sites were used as the input. The results suggest a VRG can improve energy production by up to 10% when the system operates below the rated wind speed. This is also accompanied by a slight increase in the blade-root stress. When operating above the rated speed, the stress decreases through the optimal selection of gear combinations.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Wiser, R., Lantz, E., Mai, T., Zayas, J., DeMeo, E., Eugeni, E., Lin-Powers, J., and Tusing, R., 2015, “ Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States,” U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC, Technical Report No. DOE/GO-102015-4557. https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/wind_vision_highlights.pdf
IEA Wind, 2013, “ Long-Term Research and Development Needs for Wind Energy for the Time Frame 2012 to 2030,” International Energy Agency, Paris, France. https://www.ieawind.org/long-term%20reports/IEA%20Long%20Term%20R_D_Approved%20July%2023%202013.pdf
Abdullah, M. A. , Yatim, A. H. M. , Tan, C. W. , and Saidur, R. , 2012, “ A Review of Maximum Power Point Tracking Algorithms for Wind Energy Systems,” Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 16(5), pp. 3220–3227. [CrossRef]
Narayana, M. , Putrus, G. , Jovanovic, M. , Leung, P. S. , and McDonald, S. , 2012, “ Generic Maximum Power Point Tracking Controller for Small-Scale Wind Turbines,” Renewable Energy, 44, pp. 72–79. [CrossRef]
Eltamaly, A. M. , and Farh, H. M. , 2013, “ Maximum Power Extraction From Wind Energy System Based on Fuzzy Logic Control,” Electr. Power Syst. Res., 97, pp. 144–150. [CrossRef]
Beltran, B. , El Hachemi Benbouzid, M. , and Ahmed-Ali, T. , 2012, “ Second-Order Sliding Mode Control of a Doubly Fed Induction Generator Driven Wind Turbine,” IEEE Trans. Energy Convers., 27(2), pp. 261–269. [CrossRef]
Hall, J. F. , and Chen, D. , 2013, “ Dynamic Optimization of Drivetrain Gear Ratio to Maximize Wind Turbine Power Generation—Part 1: System Model and Control Framework,” ASME J. Dyn. Syst., Meas., Control, 135(1), p. 011016.
Xue, Y. , Chang, L. , Kjær, S. B. , Bordonau, J. , and Shimizu, T. , 2004, “ Topologies of Single-Phase Inverters for Small Distributed Power Generators: An Overview,” IEEE Trans. Power Electron., 19(5), pp. 1305–1314. [CrossRef]
Arifujjaman, M. , Iqbal, M. T. , and Quaicoe, J. E. , 2009, “ Reliability Analysis of Grid Connected Small Wind Turbine Power Electronics,” Appl. Energy, 86(9), pp. 1617–1623. [CrossRef]
Wang, X. F. , and Zhu, W. D. , 2014, “ Design, Modeling, and Simulation of a Geared Infinitely Variable Transmission,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 136(7), p. 071011. [CrossRef]
Petković, D., Ćojbašić, Ž., Nikolić, V., Shamshirband, S., Kiah, M. L. M., Anuar, N. B., and Wahab, A. W. A., 2014, “ Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Maximal Power Extraction of Wind Turbine With Continuously Variable Transmission,” Energy, 64, pp. 868–874.
Zhao, X. , and Maißer, P. , 2003, “ A Novel Power Splitting Drive Train for Variable Speed Wind Power Generators,” Renewable Energy, 28(13), pp. 2001–2011. [CrossRef]
Fischetti, M. , 2006, “ No More Gears,” Sci. Am., 294(1), pp. 92–93.
Hall, J. F. , and Chen, D. , 2013, “ Dynamic Optimization of Drivetrain Gear Ratio to Maximize Wind Turbine Power Generation—Part 2: Control Design,” ASME J. Dyn. Syst., Meas., Control, 135(1), p. 011017.
Adams, D. , White, J. , Rumsey, M. , and Farrar, C. , 2011, “ Structural Health Monitoring of Wind Turbines: Method and Application to a HAWT,” Wind Energy, 14(4), pp. 603–623. [CrossRef]
Alemayehu, F. M. , and Ekwaro-Osire, S. , 2013, “ Loading and Design Parameter Uncertainty in the Dynamics and Performance of High-Speed-Parallel-Helical Stage of a Wind Turbine Gearbox,” ASME Paper No. DETC2013-13638.
Park, Y.-J. , Lee, G.-H. , Song, J.-S. , and Nam, Y.-Y. , 2013, “ Characteristic Analysis of Wind Turbine Gearbox Considering Non-Torque Loading,” ASME J. Mech. Des., 135(4), p. 044501. [CrossRef]
Pourrajabian, A. , Afshar, P. A. N. , Ahmadizadeh, M. , and Wood, D. , 2016, “ Aero-Structural Design and Optimization of a Small Wind Turbine Blade,” Renewable Energy, 87(Pt. 2), pp. 837–848. [CrossRef]
Lubitz, W. D. , 2014, “ Impact of Ambient Turbulence on Performance of a Small Wind Turbine,” Renewable Energy, 61, pp. 69–73. [CrossRef]
Kaygusuz, K. , 2012, “ Energy for Sustainable Development: A Case of Developing Countries,” Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 16(2), pp. 1116–1126. [CrossRef]
Rex, A. H. , and Johnson, K. E. , 2009, “ Methods for Controlling a Wind Turbine System With a Continuously Variable Transmission in Region 2,” ASME J. Sol. Energy Eng., 131(3), p. 031012.
Hansen, M. O. L. , 2008, Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines, Earthscan, London.
Manwell, J. F. , McGowan, J. G. , and Rogers, A. L. , 1948, Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design and Application, 2nd ed., Wiley, Chichester, UK.
Kulunk, E. , 2011, “ Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines,” Fundamental and Advanced Topics in Wind Power, R. Carriveau , ed., InTech, Rijeka, Croatia.
Clausen, P. D. , Reynal, F. , and Wood, D. H. , 2013, “ Design, Manufacture and Testing of Small Wind Turbine Blades,” Advances in Wind Turbine Blade Design and Materials, P. Brøndsted and R. P. L. Nijssen , eds., Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK, pp. 413–431.
Poore, R. , 2000, “ NWTC AWT-26 Research and Retrofit Project—Summary of AWT-26/27 Turbine Research and Development,” National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, Report No. NREL/SR-500-26926. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc708771/m2/1/high_res_d/752530.pdf
Mullane, A. , and O'Malley, M. , 2005, “ The Inertial Response of Induction-Machine-Based Wind Turbines,” IEEE Trans. Power Syst., 20(3), pp. 1496–1503. [CrossRef]
Li, H. , Chen, Z. , and Han, L. , 2006, “ Comparison and Evaluation of Induction Generator Models in Wind Turbine Systems for Transient Stability of Power System,” International Conference on Power System Technology (PowerCon), Chongqing, China, Oct. 22–26, pp. 1–6.
Hau, E. , 2006, Wind Turbines: Fundamentals, Technologies, Application, Economics, 2nd ed., Springer, New York.
Christensen, R. M. , 2013, The Theory of Materials Failure, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Wang, L. , Liu, X. , Renevier, N. , Stables, M. , and Hall, G. M. , 2014, “ Nonlinear Aeroelastic Modelling for Wind Turbine Blades Based on Blade Element Momentum Theory and Geometrically Exact Beam Theory,” Energy, 76, pp. 487–501. [CrossRef]
Muljadi, E. , Singh, M. , and Gevorgian, V. , 2013, “ Fixed-Speed and Variable-Slip Wind Turbines Providing Spinning Reserves to the Grid,” U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, Report No. NREL/CP-5500-56817. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56817.pdf
Dykes, K. , Resor, B. , Platt, A. , Guo, Y. , Ning, A. , King, R. , Petch, D., Veers, P., and Parsons, T., 2014, “ Effect of Tip-Speed Constraints on the Optimized Design of a Wind Turbine,” National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, Report No. NREL/TP-5000-61726. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/61726.pdf
Ma, Z. , Yan, Z. , Shaltout, M. L. , and Chen, D. , 2015, “ Optimal Real-Time Control of Wind Turbine During Partial Load Operation,” IEEE Trans. Control Syst. Technol., 23(6), pp. 2216–2226. [CrossRef]
Bertsekas, D. P. , 1995, Dynamic Programming and Optimal Control, Vol. 1, Athena Scientific, Belmont, MA.
Birge, J. R. , and Louveaux, F. , 2011, Introduction to Stochastic Programming, Springer Science and Business Media, New York.
Deb, K. , Sindhya, K. , and Hakanen, J. , 2016, “ Multi-Objective Optimization,” Decision Sciences, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 145–184.
Belegundu, A. D. , and Chandrupatla, T. R. , 2011, Optimization Concepts and Applications in Engineering, Cambridge University Press, New York.
Manwell, J. , 2009, Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design and Application, 2nd ed., Wiley, Chichester, UK.
Justus, C. , 1978, Winds and Wind System Performance, Franklin Institute Press, Philadelphia, PA.
Rardin, R. L. , 1998, Optimization in Operations Research, Vol. 166, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

VRG-enabled drivetrain

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Procedure for finding aerodynamic loads with BEM

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Torque and thrust for wind speed 13 m/s

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Mechanical system model

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Control problem formulation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Flapwise and edgewise binding

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Decision-making structure for control

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Pareto frontier for VRG combinations evaluated at site 2

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Power (top), stress (middle), and applied gear ratio (bottom) in relation to wind speed, based on site 2 simulation results

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Power (top) and stress (bottom) for each combination and weight factor for site 2



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In