Just when you thought technology is already controlling everything it could, research at Stanford University have developed an algorithm that can make wind turbines more efficient.
The researchers at Stanford University used a proprietary optimization algorithm to model the most efficient yaw angle for turbines. The yaw mechanism in a wind turbine is used to turn the wind turbine rotor against the wind. It is used to ensure that a turbine produces the maximal amount of electric energy. This algorithm was then tested out in a real Alberta, Canada wind farm. It illustrated how, by working together, wind turbines can generate more energy by effectively “sharing” the wind.
The algorithm takes into account a half-decade of information on wind speed, wind direction, and power generation from six turbines. This suggests the most efficient way to gather maximal energy from a series of wind turbines would be for the yawing of several of the turbines to be positioned 20 degrees off the wind.
“We’ve demonstrated that the power output of wind farms can be improved by turning some of the turbines so that they’re facing slightly away from the wind,” John Dabiri, a Stanford fluid mechanics expert who worked on the project, told Digital Trends. “This causes the choppy air created by upwind turbines to be deflected away from the downstream turbines. The upwind turbines lose a little power, but the farm as a whole can produce significantly more power.”
“This first project focused on six wind turbines, to demonstrate that the idea works while limiting the risks associated with new technology,” Dabiri continued. “The next stage will involve tests on larger groups of turbines, including entire wind farms.”
A paper describing the work, titled “Wind farm power optimization through wake steering,” was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.