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Verification of European Wind Turbine Design Codes

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Verifying the design codes for European wind turbine

Within the wind turbine industry and its certification authorities, it is not clear just how much confidence they have with analysis codes for calculating dynamic loads and energy yields. Given this uncertainty, a Dutch project decided to establish an overall verification of the most widely used codes within Europe.


In order to calculate the dynamic loads and energy yields, the wind turbine industry uses analysis codes, such as wind simulations and aero-elastic models for optimising future designs and certifications. The Dutch verification project entailed analysing eight wind turbine design codes in five countries on three separate wind turbine models. With the objectives of assessing accuracy and reliability and defining recommendations for improved wind turbine design codes, these experiments were conducted under three different control strategy conditions. Whilst stall regulated, pitch regulated and variable speed in combination with free yaw were the principal experiments, additional variables included accelerations and inflow velocities. Using a stochastic wind simulator as part of the code, statistical wind properties, such as mean wind speeds, turbulence intensities and length scales were also provided for the rotor planes. Design code results were then interpreted as functions of time, which is a necessary process for the design of wind turbine components and certification processes. The resulting code predictions on the blade, rotor and tower loads were then compared with reference data on modern wind turbines. These project findings have been further strengthened with the inclusion of a database that contains comparisons between calculated and measured loads. These results have now been able to produce insights into the major European design codes, thus meaning the project participants can improve industrial support with their enhanced quality of design. Regular updating of the database will ensure that the quality improvement of updated codes can be continuously compared to existing results, thus removing any uncertainties that currently exist.

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