January 12, 2009

Scheme lets wind turbines store energy

Let a wind turbine speed up when the wind is stronger than average and you have a way to store wind energy and smooth the flow of electricity from wind farms to the grid.

A proposed wind turbine control algorithm lets a turbine spin faster in stronger than average winds rather than generating more electricity. The turbine's inertia stores the excess wind energy just like a flywheel. When wind speeds dip below average the control algorithm slows the turbine, which converts the stored energy to electricity.

Wind is variable, which makes electricity from wind farms variable. Researchers are working on storing wind energy to make wind farms a more predictable and reliable source of electricity for the grid. The control algorithm removes the need for separate storage systems like batteries, capacitors and flywheels.

Research paper:
Wind Power Smoothing Using Rotor Inertia Aimed at Reducing Grid Susceptibility
International Journal of Power Electronics, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
Power Electronics and Motor Drives Laboratory, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Related stories and briefs:
Grid can handle renewables -- related study

Back to ERN January 12/19, 2009



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