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Controller Design Automation for

Aeroservoelastic Design Optimization


of Wind Turbines
Turaj Ashuri
PhD Researcher
Department of Aerodynamic and Wind Energy
Delft University of Technology
t.ashuri@tudelft.nl

Michiel Zaaijer
Assistant Professor
Department of Aerodynamic and Wind Energy
Delft University of Technology
m.b.zaayer@tudelft.nl

Gerard van Bussel


Professor
Department of Aerodynamic and Wind Energy
Delft University of Technology
G.J.W.vanBussel@tudelft.nl

Gijs van Kuik


Professor
Department of Aerodynamic and Wind Energy
Delft University of Technology
G.A.M.vanKuik@tudelft.nl

Abstract

1 Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to integrate the


controller design of wind turbines with
structure and aerodynamic analysis and use
the final product in the design optimization
process (DOP) of wind turbines. To do that,
the controller design is automated and
integrated with an aeroelastic simulation
tool. This integrated tool is linked with an
optimization
engine.
The
automated
controller has two built-in control algorithms;
a generator-torque controller and an above
rated pitch-controller. This new tool is used
in the DOP of the 5MW NREL research wind
turbine. To show how this method works
some parameters of both the generatortorque controller and the pitch-controller are
introduced as design variables in the DOP.
As the result of changing controller related
design variables within each optimization
iteration, the values of the objective function
and the design constraint also change. This
shows that by introducing the controllers
parameters as design variables in the DOP
a more realistic assessment of the objective
function and constraints is possible that
helps the optimizer to search for better
solutions.

A wind turbine is a complex system to


design. This complexity is mainly due to the
dynamic interaction of aerodynamic forces,
structural flexibility and control actions,
known as aeroservoelasticity. A good DOP
should consider this interaction from the first
iterations of the process. Usually, most of
the DOPs do not take the controller design
as part of the study and those rare cases
that include the controller in the DOP are
based on a fixed controller setting that is
developed for the initial design and tuned
during the optimization, without having the
controller parameters as design variables
[1,2].

Keywords: Controller design, wind turbine,


design optimization, aeroservoelasticity

In those cases, the influence of the


controller on the objective function and
constraints can not be evaluated properly.
This leads to a system that is not a real
optimum. Obviously, after finding the
optimum values of the other parameters of
the system, the controller needs to be
redesigned and tuned again.
To properly evaluate the objective function
and constrains, controller design should be
part of the DOP and redesigned within
optimization iterations with all its parameters
as design variables. This is a problem in
automated DOPs, which require fast

controller
design,
without
intervention of a designer.

manual

The purpose of this paper is to provide a


new methodology that enables the controller
design to be part of an automated DOP. It
starts with explaining different steps of
designing a torque controller for below rated
region, and a pitch controller for above rated
region as well as the transition part.
For below rated region, the generator torque
is assumed to be proportional to the square
of the filtered generator speed. For above
rated region, the periodic steady state
operating points are found and the system is
linearized around these steady state
operating points.
Based on this linearized model, the above
rated pitch controller can be designed. Then
proper parameters that influence each
controller design are selected and
introduced as design variables in the DOP.
Next, this parameterized model is
automated such that it can be integrated
with the rest of the DOP.
Finally, this new methodology is applied on
the 5 MW research wind turbine. As the
result of changing the damping ratio, the
generator slip, structural twist of the blade,
pitch rate of the servo-motor and the
generator controller proportional gain within
optimization iterations, different values for
the objective function and the constraint
were found.
This shows that a more realistic evaluation
of the objective function and constraint is
possible with the controller design in the
loop, which leads to more reduction in the
cost of energy and a better assessment of
the constraints.
This new methodology can also be used in
up-scaling studies, in which different scales
demand for a new controller setting, either
with or without controller parameters as

design variables. However, the latter results


in a better design solution.

2 Controller
design
implementation

and

For this study a conventional variablespeed,


variable
blade-pitch-to-feather
controller is selected. In such a
configuration the strategy to control the
power-production operation is based on the
design of two separable control systems:

A generator torque controller for partial


load region
A full-span rotor-collective blade-pitch
controller for the full load region

2.1 Generator-torque controller


Maximization of power production in partial
load region is the most logical strategy for
the generator torque controller [3]. As
discussed in many research papers,
variable speed operation results in a higher
energy capture than constant speed.
Therefore, a variable speed controller is
also used in this research.
The generator torque controller consists of
five different regions, see figure 1. In region
1, which is below the cut-in wind speed, the
generator torque is zero and the kinetic
energy in the wind is used to accelerate the
rotor.
Region 2 is the power production region, in
which the generator torque in our controller
is proportional to the square of the filtered
generator speed to keep a constant
(theoretically optimal) tip-speed ratio, that is:
T=K 2, with K as the proportionality
factor.
In region 3, the generator torque changes
inversely with generator speed to keep a
constant power output. Region 1 is a
linear transition between region 1 and 2.

45000

1 1/2

2 1/2

Generator torque (N.m)

37500

30000

22500

15000

7500

0
0

300

600

900

1200

1500

1800

Generator speed (RPM)


Figure 1: Generator-torque controller of the 5MW turbine in different regions
Also in region 2 a linear transition between
region 2 and 3 occurs, in which its slope is
equal to the slip of an induction generator.

2.2 Blade-pitch controller


The goal of the blade-pitch controller is to
regulate generator speed above the rated
operating point. The blade-pitch controller is
designed using a gain scheduled PI
controller.
The error between the filtered generator
speed and the rated generator speed is
used as the input for the PI controller. The
output of this PI-controller is the reference
pitch angle for the pitch actuator system.
A single degree of freedom model is used to
compute the proportional, KP, and integral,
KI, gains [2]. However, due to the nonlinear
characteristics of the aerodynamic forces
that change during different operating
conditions, the KP and KI gains are
scheduled as functions of the aerodynamic
pitch sensitivity.
Because of the changes of blade
parameters like twist and chord and tower

height during the optimization process, the


value of the rated wind speed needs to be
recalculated in each iteration. This is done
using a time domain simulation with a
steady wind at the hub height.
After finding the rated wind speed, the
system is linearized at different wind speeds
above the rated wind speed to find the
steady state operating points.
This process is mainly named as periodic
steady state linearization, since it is
performed at different blade azimuth angles
and then the azimuth averaged values are
used to design the pitch-controller [4, 5].
Using this process, the , , V space (
rotational speed, blade pitch angle and V
the wind velocity) in which the system is in
equilibrium can be mapped [6].
Based on the values in which the system is
in dynamic equilibrium, another linearization
is carried out that is mainly named as initial
steady state linearization, with previous
obtained points as the input.

In this stage the aerodynamic power


sensitivity is calculated using the linearized
model with the generator degree of freedom
as the only state variable, blade pitch angle
as the input and the rotor power as the
system output.
Since the system has only one state
variable, the derivative of the system output
to the system input is the aerodynamic pitch
sensitivity to the blade pitch angle which is
equal to the transmission matrix of the
linearized system.

Cost of energy is calculated as follow:


COE=

System cost
Anual energy production

(3)

System cost consists of all the elements that


a wind turbine is made of based on the
WindPact project [8].
The annual energy production is found by
multiplying the wind speed probability
density function (PDF) to the power curve of
the wind turbine.

Based on this strategy, the proportional and


integral gains can be calculated as follow
[7]:

DT
Rated

n
1 (1)
K P
P


0.5 N gear ( ) 1
k
0


and:

For calculating fatigue, rain flow cycle


counting is applied on the time-series output
of the aeroelastic solver. Based on that, the
Miner rule is used to calculate the
cumulative fatigue damage at the blade
root, in flapwise direction.


2
I

DT
Rated
n
1
KI


N gear ( ) 1
k
0

(2)

Where:
IDR : drive train mass moment of inertia
Rated : rated rotational speed
: damping ratio

n : resonance frequency

N gear : number of gear of the gear box


: blade pitch angle
k : the blade-pitch angle at which the pitch
aerodynamic sensitivity has doubled from its
value at the rated.

2.3 Design optimization setup


In a DOP, costs of energy and fatigue
damage at the blade root are among the
most important issues to consider.
Therefore, this paper investigates the
influence of different controller parameters
on the cost of energy as the objective
function with a constraint on the fatigue
damage at the blade root.

Design variables that are included in this


study are as follow:

Proportionality factor in region 2 as a


continuous variable
Generator slip in region 2 as a
discrete variable
Damping ratio as a discrete variable
Blades twist angle at different stations
as a continuous variable
Pitch rate of the servo-motor as a
discrete variable

This new methodology is implemented as


an external master controller dynamic link
library (DLL), in the format of BLADED.
Therefore at any time during the DOP, when
there is a need to evaluate a new set of
design variables by the optimizer, this DLL
file is automatically generated and can be
used directly.
Obviously, there are other design variables
that can be changed during a DOP using
this method, and the choice of the selected
design variables in this study is to simply
show how this method works.
The DLL file is a parametric model and any
other parameter within the DLL itself can be
introduced either as a design variable or
constrained parameter in a DOP.

The aeroelastic simulation is performed


using FAST. The controller design
automation is carried out in MATLAB.
Therefore, an interface is developed to fully
automate the DOP to guarantee the integrity
of all the simulation tools. Sequential
quadratic programming is used as the
optimization algorithm.

3 Analysis and results


The DOP is performed using the integrated
design optimization tool. To show the
influence of the selected design variables on
the objective function and constraint two
different iterations within the same DOP that

have different values of design variables are


selected. The design variables for these two
different cases are as follow:
Case 1:
A generator slip of 3%, a damping ratio of
0.6, a generator proportional gain of
0.02780(kN.m/rpm2) and a servo-motor
pitch rate of 9 deg/sec
Case 2:
A generator slip of 10%, a damping ratio of
0.7, a generator proportional gain of
0.02692 (kN.m/rpm2) and a servo-motor
pitch rate of 7 deg/sec

Case 1

Case 2

Aerodynamic power sensitivity (W/rad)

0.0E+00

-2.0E+01

-4.0E+01

-6.0E+01

-8.0E+01

-1.0E+02

-1.2E+02
0

12

16

20

24

Pitch angle (deg)


Figure 2: Aerodynamic power sensitivity to blade pitch of the 5 MW wind turbine
For the above rated pitch controller, the
aerodynamic power sensitivity to the blade
pitch for different steady state operating
points of case 1 and 2 is automatically
calculated. As figure 2 shows, this sensitivity
is different for case 1 and 2, which demands
a different controller design for the pitch
controller.
The proportional and integral gains of the
pitch controller should vary with the pitch
angle to balance the variation of the

aerodynamic power, as well as the changes


of the rated wind speed due to the variation
of the twist angle from one iteration to the
other. This is done using the gain
scheduling technique. The calculated
proportional and integral gain for case 1 is
presented in figure 3, and is obtained using
equation 1 and 2. Case 2 has the same
pattern as case 1, but with different values.

Integral gain

Proportional gain

Gain correction factor


1

0.016

0.8

0.012

0.6

0.008

0.4

0.004

0.2

0
0.0

2.6

5.2

7.8

10.4

13.0

15.6

18.2

20.8

23.4

Gain correction factor

Proportional and integral gains

0.02

0
26.0

Blade pitch angle (deg)


Figure 3: PI gains and gain scheduled correction factor of the 5 MW wind turbine

Cost of energy

Fatigue damage

COE (euro), fatigue damage

0.25

0.2

0.15

0.1

0.05

0
1

Case number
Figure 4: Cost of energy and flapwise fatigue damage of the 5 MW research wind turbine

This shows how the gain scheduled


correction factor should change versus the
blade pitch angle.
Based on these two cases, the cost of
energy and flapwise fatigue at the blade root
are calculated. This is presented in figure 4.
As figure 4 shows, the variation of the COE
is not too much comparing with the variation
of fatigue. This is due to the fact that the
selected design variables have more
influence on blade loads than on the system
cost and annual energy production. As
mentioned before the system cost consists
of all the elements that the wind turbine is
made of and it is not wondering that some
changes in blade parameters can not
change the COE too much.

In this way, the controller parameters are


also introduced as design variables. Then,
to show the effectiveness of the method two
different iterations in a single design
optimization run were selected and their
related objective function and constraint
were compared.
As the results show, a better assessment of
the objective function and the constraint is
achieved that helps the optimizer to move
towards a better design solution for the
system.

5 Acknowledgement
Funding for doing this PhD project came
from the SenterNovem under the frame
work of INNWIND project, which is gratefully
acknowledged.

This shows that different controller settings


result in different values of the objective
function and constraint, taking into account
that the change of the twist angle is tightly
bounded to see the influence of the control
parameters more.

The author also would like to thank Dr.


Jason Jonkman from NREL, who took time
from his busy schedules to help us with the
linearization process in FAST.

4 Summary and conclusion

[1] P. Fuglsang and et al, Site-specific


Design Optimization of Wind Turbines,
Wind Energy journal, 2002, 5:261279
[2] M.H. Hansen and et al, Control design
for a pitch-regulated, variable speed wind
turbine, Ris-R-1500(EN), 2005
[3] K. Johnson and et al, Methods for
Increasing Region 2 Power Capture on a
Variable Speed HAWT, Proceeding of Wind
Energy Symposium, 2004, Reno, NV, pp
103-113
[4] J.M. Jonkman, M.L. Buhl,FAST user
guide, Technical Report NREL/EL-50038230, August 2005
[5] T.G. van Engelen, Control design based
on aero-hydro-servo-elastic linear models
from TURBU (ECN), EWEC conference,
2007, Italy
[6] F. D. Bianchi and et al, Wind Turbine
Control Systems Principles, Modeling and
Gain
Scheduling
Design,
Springer
publication, 2007
[7] J. Jonkman and et al, Definition of a 5MW Reference Wind Turbine for Offshore
System Development, Technical Report
NREL/TP-500-38060, 2009
[8] L. Fingersh, M. Hand, A. Laxson, Wind
Turbine Design Cost and Scaling Model,
NREL/TP-500-40566, 2006

Up to now, the role of the control engineer in


wind turbine design has been mainly
focused on designing the controller for a
given configuration. However, the shift
towards more flexible structures equipped
with active control devices operating in the
entire working domain of the wind turbine is
changing this role.
As the design becomes more integrated
with multidisciplinary design optimization,
the design problem is changing from how do
regulate the power or decrease the loads to
how can aerodynamic, structure and active
control be optimally combined to make a
wind turbine that has the lowest COE, while
satisfying all the constraints.
This paper presented a new methodology
which enables the shifting of the wind
turbine design problems from an aeroelastic
design to an aeroservoelastic design. It
started with integrating the controller design
process with the rest of the system design
process.

References