Wind Turbine Technology

Wind Turbines offer a clean renewable source of electrical power and are gaining an increasing share in the energy market in the United States and around the world.  The Department of Energy has defined a scenario to have 20% o the US Energy needs served by wind turbine, by the year 2030.  To accomplish this goal there is a requirement to build bigger more cost efficient turbines.  The technology needs are:

  • Increase capacity factors
    • Pursue larger rotors and taller towers
    • Continue improvements to blade, rotors, drive-train components and controls
    • Enhance reliability of major components
    • Reduce environmental impact on noise
  • Reduce capital costs
    • Reduce aerodynamic and mechanical loads through advanced blade and rotor concepts
    • Reduce turbine weight through judicious use of newer, higher-strength materials
    • Improve component manufacturability and manufacturing processes
  • Mitigate risks
    • Evaluate performance to enable early identification of issues
    • Track O&M needs to enhance experience base for turbines and components
    • Conduct testing and certification activities

These needs are addressed in a multidisciplinary fashion by the Ohio State Faculty. 

  • Blade Aerodynamics and Aero Acoustics are addressed by analytical modeling and wind tunnel testing.
  • Blade materials and blade manufacturing are being addressed by our materials group which is developing hybrid composites to improve material by incorporating nanoparticles
  • Wind Farms optimization is key to improving the performance of the operation.  Ohio State has developed computational codes that marry lidar scans with 3-D maps of vegetation, building to maximize the efficiency of a turbine site.
  • Wind Turbine gearboxes have been a main source of maintenance on most installations.  The wind turbine gearbox research laboratory at OSU has developed an accelerated procedure to reproduce micro pitting in wind turbine gears and bearings and develop appropriate lubricants to address the situation.
  • A number of new large and offshore wind turbines are moving to direct installations.  This is associated with the innovation of new generators that require a low cost investment and are highly reliable.  Ohio State is leading this international development effort.