May 4, 2009

Sensors promise smart wind turbines

Embed accelerometers -- the same kind of motion sensors that let you control your iPhone -- in wind turbine blades, and you're a step closer to turbines that adapt on the fly to changing conditions.

A network of accelerometers in a turbine blade feeds data to software that calculates the forces on the blade and how much the blade twists and bends. The system makes it easier to track wear and tear.

The system could also be used in future smart wind turbines to feed data to control software that changes blade angles and generator tension on the fly to adjust to changing wind conditions. This would boost efficiency and reduce wear.

Research paper:
Operational Load Estimation of a Smart Wind Turbine Rotor Blade
Windpower 2009 Conference & Exhibition, Chicago, May 4, 2009

Researchers' contact:
Douglas E. Adams

Related stories and briefs:
Controller steadies offshore wind turbines -- related research

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