A research team from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky recently conducted a field study in Southwestern Ontario, Canada intended to improve the efficiency of large wind farms.
In collaboration with researchers at the University of Windsor and hosted by Kruger Energy, the team measured wakes produced by wind turbines using small unmanned aerial systems developed by researchers in UK’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Laboratory. The study looked at the impact of wake steering, in which the upstream wind turbine is intentionally yawed to sub-optimal orientations to prevent the air disturbed by the upstream turbine from impacting downstream turbines.
“Wake steering has been shown to improve the overall wind farm output, but there is little information available on the dynamics of the `steered' wakes as the develop downstream,” explained associate professor Sean Bailey. “The data from our unmanned aircraft is expected to provide a deeper understanding about how these wakes evolve, and how to better optimize large wind turbine arrays.”
The team consisted of:
- Jess Estridge (UK's sUAS Flight Director)
- Stewart Nelson (graduate student)
- Chris Heintz (graduate student)
- Sean MacPhee (undergraduate student/pilot)
- Alex Hodge (undergraduate student/pilot)
- Chris Sanders (undergraduate student/pilot)
- Christina Vezzi (undergraduate student/ground controller)
- Martin Matson (undergraduate student/ground controller)
- Associate professor Sean Bailey