WIND ENERGY
Research Group

Wind Energy

The Wind Energy Research Group has been active throughout the past 20 years at the University of Newcastle, Australia. We have demonstrated a strong research capability and experience in the small wind turbine field. The driving aim of our group is the continued design and development of highly-efficient, low-cost small wind turbines.

The Wind Energy Research Group has a proven track record in developing highly efficient rotors, designing fatigue resistant components, implementing novel control strategies, and applying the use of computational techniques to assess wind turbine performance. This multidisciplinary team is comprised of mechanical, civil, and control engineers.

The Wind Energy Research Group has access to an operating 5 kW Aerogenesis wind turbine installed on campus, as well as several wind tunnels. This allows for a wide range of experimental measurements to be undertaken for the determination of design loads and verification of computational models.

Research focuses

  • Instrumentation of small wind turbines for the measurement of in-service operational loads, power output, and yaw dynamics
  • Quantifying the highly turbulent wind resource in the built environment via anemometer measurements
  • Verification of design loads as per IEC 61400.2 (Design requirements for small wind turbines)
  • Computational modelling of small wind turbines, including; computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis (FEA), and aeroelastic modelling (FAST)
  • Application of LIDAR for control of 5 MW NREL turbine to mitigate loads during extreme events
  • Development and commercialisation of novel diffuser augmented wind turbine (DAWT) designs. Diffuse Energy Pty Ltd has been formed to deliver this novel small wind turbine technology to market (diffuse-energy.com).

Completed research projects

Dr Samuel Evans, 2017

Aeroelastic modelling is widely used in the design verification and performance assessment of large commercial-scale wind turbines. It has seen comparatively little use in the small wind turbine field. This project focused on the development and experimental validation of an aeroelastic model of a small 5 kW turbine within FAST. Blade fatigue life predictions are made based on experimental load measurements and simulations in turbulent wind environments. Results are expected to facilitate the development of efficient, cost effective, and structural sound blades.

Dr David Bradney, 2017

This project focused on the effects of turbulence intensity and unsteady wind conditions on the dynamic performance of a small 5 kW wind turbine. David’s research was undertaken through detailed site measurements and the development of a complete dynamic model of a small wind turbine. David’s key research interests include delta wing tail fin aerodynamics, experimental measurement of wind turbine performance, and the effect of turbulence intensity on power production, modelling accuracy, and drivetrain performance.

Current research projects

The following projects are currently being undertaken by both PhD and Masters students within the Wind Energy Research Group. We welcome expressions of interest or contact from potential collaborators.

Joss Kesby

The addition of a specially shaped duct, known as a diffuser, to a small wind turbine can potentially improve the energy production of the turbine due to the diffuser reducing the impact of turbulence on the turbine’s performance and allowing more energy to be extracted from a given wind speed.

This project involves using an evolutionary algorithm to optimise the geometry of both the diffuser and the turbine blades to maximise the energy generated by a small wind turbine located at a typical site. The resulting optimised diffuser augmented wind turbine (DAWT) has been constructed using 3D printing techniques for use in wind tunnel testing to validate the optimisation method.

It is envisaged that this research will make small wind turbines more attractive to people and businesses who wish to reduce their carbon footprint and gain energy independence, particularly in conjunction with a solar photovoltaic system.

Joss Kesby is currently involved with the commercialisation of this technology. More details can be found at diffuse-energy.com.au

Mariana Salles Pereira Da Costa

This research project main aim is to reduce the wind turbine blade weight without interfering with the blade shape. In the initial stages of the research we developed an algorithm to optimise the blade structure. Initial results are promising and with further development of the algorithm it will be capable of producing an optimum blade structure that will improve the turbine overall performance and it will have lower manufacturing cost.

Paul Fraser

Small, horizontal-axis wind turbines typically use a ‘free yaw’ arrangement with a tail fin to keep the turbine rotor pointing into the wind. Through simulation and experimentation, this research project aims to improve our understanding of the flow of air in the vicinity of the tail fin and the effect of different tail fin sizes, shapes and configurations. The outcomes of this research will assist future engineers to create more effective tail fin designs, meaning small wind turbines can generate more power more of the time.

Shaun Nay

This project focuses on development of a measurement system capable of recording the torque produced and the thrust loading of each individual blade on a 5 kW Aerogenesis wind turbine, coupled with a custom high speed data logging system.

Research applications include improving turbine blade performance models, investigating the effects of blade pitch misalignment, and the effects of turbulent flow in urban environments.

Muhammad I. Rakib

A wind gust is a sudden and brief increase in the speed of wind. Gusts are generated in urban region when wind blows around buildings, trees or other obstacles. This type of gustiness is generally largest near tall buildings and alleyways and least over large water bodies. Small-scaled wind turbines are generally mounted in the urban area. Wind gusts, in some cases, are adequately strong to cause damage of blades and tower of the wind turbines. However, there is a lack of understanding about wind flows in urban environments. This project investigates the wind gusts and its effects on the power generation and structure of a small wind turbine.

Publications

P.D. Clausen, F. Reynal and D.H. Wood, 13 - Design, manufacture and testing of small wind turbine blades, In Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy, Woodhead Publishing, 2013, Pages 413-431, Advances in Wind Turbine Blade Design and Materials, ISBN 9780857094261, https://doi.org/10.1533/9780857097286.3.413.

Evans, S.P., Bradney D.R., Clausen, P.D. Assessing the IEC simplified fatigue load equations for small wind turbine blades: How simple is too simple? (2018) Renewable Energy, 127, pp. 24-31.

Evans, S.P., Clausen, P.D. Modelling of turbulent wind flow using the embedded Markov chain method (2015) Renewable Energy, 81, pp. 671-678.

Clausen, P.D., Freere, P., Peterson, P., Wilson, S.V.R., Wood, D.H. The shape and performance of hand-carved small wind turbine blades (2009) Wind Engineering, 33 (3), pp. 299-304.

Wilson, S.V.R., Clausen, P.D., Wood, D.H. Gyroscopic moments on small wind turbine blades at high yaw rates (2008) Australian Journal of Mechanical Engineering, 5 (1), pp. 1-8.

Wilson, S.V.R., Clausen, P.D. Aspects of the dynamic response of a small wind turbine blade in highly turbulent flow: Part 2 predicted blade response (2007) Wind Engineering, 31 (4), pp. 217-231.

Wilson, S.V.R., Clausen, P.D. Aspects of the dynamic response of a small wind turbine blade in highly turbulent flow: Part 1 measured blade response (2007) Wind Engineering, 31 (1), pp. 1-16.

Epaarachchi, J.A., Clausen, P.D. The development of a fatigue loading spectrum for small wind turbine blades (2006) Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics, 94 (4), pp. 207-223.

Epaarachchi, J.A., Clausen, P.D. A new cumulative fatigue damage model for glass fibre reinforced plastic composites under step/discrete loading (2005) Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 36 (9), pp. 1236-1245.

Peterson, P., Clausen, P.D. Timber for high efficiency small wind turbine blades (2004) Wind Engineering, 28 (1 SPEC. ISS.), pp. 87-96.

Epaarachchi, J.A., Clausen, P.D. An empirical model for fatigue behavior prediction of glass fibre-reinforced plastic composites for various stress ratios and test frequencies (2003) Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 34 (4), pp. 313-326.

Bechly, M.E., Clausen, P.D. The dynamic performance of a composite blade from a 5kW wind turbine part II: Predicted blade response (2002) Wind Engineering, 26 (5), pp. 273-286.

Bechly, M.E., Clausen, P.D. The dynamic performance of a composite blade from a 5kW wind turbine. Part I: Measured blade response (2001) Wind Engineering, 25 (3), pp. 133-148.

Clausen, P.D., Wood, D.H. Recent advances in small wind turbine technology (2000) Wind Engineering, 24 (3), pp. 189-201.

Bechly, M.E., Clausen, P.D. Some dynamic strain measurements from the blade of a small wind turbine (1999) Wind Engineering, 23 (1), pp. 15-22.

Clausen, P.D., Wood, D.H. Research and development issues for small wind turbines (1999) Renewable Energy, 16 (1-4 -4 pt 2), pp. 922-927.

Bechly, M.E., Clausen, P.D. Structural design of a composite wind turbine blade using finite element analysis (1997) Computers and Structures, 63 (3), pp. 639-646.

Evans, S.P., KC, A, Bradney, D.R., Urmee, T.P., Whale, J., & Clausen, P.D. The suitability of the IEC 61400-2 wind model for small wind turbines operating in the built environment (2017) Proceedings of the World Renewable Energy Congress XVI (Perth 5-9 February, 2017).

Salles Pereira Da Costa, M., Evans, S.P., Bradney, D.R., & Clausen, P.D. A method to optimise the materials layout of small wind turbine blades (2017) Proceedings of the World Renewable Energy Congress XVI (Perth 5-9 February, 2017).

Kesby, J.E., Bradney, D.R., Clausen, P.D. Determining the annual energy production of a Diffuser Augmented Wind Turbine using a combined CFD/BEM method (2017) Proceedings of the World Renewable Energy Congress XVI (Perth 5-9 February, 2017).

Bradney, D.R., Evans, S.P., Da Costa, M.S.P., Clausen, P.D. Comparison of computational modelling and field testing of a small wind turbine operating in unsteady flows (2016) Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 753 (8)

Kesby, J.E., Bradney, D.R., Clausen, P.D. Determining Diffuser Augmented Wind Turbine performance using a combined CFD/BEM method (2016) Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 753 (8)

Evans, S.P., Bradney, D.R., Clausen, P.D. Aeroelastic measurements and simulations of a small wind turbine operating in the built environment (2016) Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 753 (4)

Evans, S.P., Clausen, P.D. High resolution wind speed modelling of turbulent flow using the Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation (2014) Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Conference, Australian Solar Energy Society (Australian Solar Council), Melbourne May 2014

People

We welcome inquiries from prospective students, research collaborators, and interested industry partners.

Research Group Director

Research Collaborators

Professor David Wood

University of Calgary

Development of highly efficient small wind turbines and the measurement of operational loads.

Dr Jonathan Whale

Murdoch University

Quantifying the urban environment wind resource and its impact of turbine fatigue life.