Aeroelastic Modeling for Distributed Wind Turbines: March 11, 2021 - November 10, 2021

Rick Damiani, Dean Davis, Brent Summerville, Brent Summerville (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Aeroelastic modeling (AM) is the primary methodology for structural and performance assessment of any wind turbine whereby providing an understanding of the impact of design parameters on its loading and power response before witnessing it in the field. Despite these advantages, the use of AM in the Distributed Wind Technology (DWT) sector is limited, especially within the less established manufacturers. This project represents an in-depth assessment of the status of AM and its role within the Standards for the DWT industry. The study gathered input and feedback from a large number of national and international stakeholders, reviewed technical strengths and weaknesses of the current edition of the design standards, analyzed recent industry workshops' and meetings' minutes, collected publicly available AM templates, and provided an evaluation of the existing AM codes. The study achieved several goals including providing strategies for the load assessment categorization of turbines based on rotor swept area and archetype, and guidance for AM verification and validation (V&V), which includes discussions of measurement requirements and a sample test-plan useful for future V&V campaigns and design standard development. This document summarizes the different tasks conducted in the course of the project and highlights the steps required to improve the AM adoption based on a multifaceted approach that encompasses: 1) augmenting AM software capabilities, 2) publishing AM best-practices and design-basis, 3) creating new model templates, 4) providing guidance for V&V of codes and specific turbine models leveraging field testing best-practice, and 5) addressing weaknesses in the current standards. Many of the future objectives identified in this study could leverage NREL's upcoming testing campaigns of three modern distributed wind turbines. Recommendations within this study will advance the value and the ease-of-use of AM, thereby allowing the industry to better capitalize this underutilized tool resulting in a more efficient design process, an easier path to certification, and overall better and more distributed reliable wind turbine products.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages82
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Work performed by RRD Engineering, Arvada, Colorado and Windward Engineering, Spanish Fork, Utah

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5000-81724


  • aeroelastic modeling
  • distributed wind


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