wind turbine optimization, multidisciplinary optimization, sequential vs integrated optimization, wind turbine design


Efficient extraction of wind energy is a complex multidisciplinary process. This paper examines common objectives used in wind turbine optimization problems. The focus is not on the specific optimized designs, but rather on understanding when certain objectives and constraints are necessary, and what their limitations are. Maximizing annual energy production, or even using sequential aero/structural optimization, is shown to be significantly suboptimal compared to integrated aero/structural metrics. Minimizing the ratio of turbine mass to annual energy production can be effective for fixed rotor diameter designs, as long as the tower mass is estimated carefully. For variable diameter designs, the predicted optimal diameter may be misleading. This is because the mass of the tower dominates the total turbine mass, but the cost of the tower is a much smaller fraction of overall turbine costs. Minimizing cost of energy is a much better metric, though high fidelity in the cost modeling is as important as high fidelity in the physics modeling. Furthermore, deterministic cost of energy minimization can be inadequate, given the stochastic nature of the wind and various uncertainties associated with physical processes and model choices. Optimization in the presence of uncertainty is necessary to create robust turbine designs.

Original Publication Citation

Ning, A., Damiani, R., and Moriarty, P., “Objectives and Constraints for Wind Turbine Optimization,” ASME Wind Energy Symposium, Grapevine, TX, Feb. 2013. doi:10.2514/6.2013-201

Document Type

Conference Paper

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication