Individual Blade Pitch Control for the Controls Advanced Research Turbine (CART)

Karl A. Stol, Zhao Wenxin, Alan D. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus Citations


Pitching the individual blades of a horizontal-axis wind turbine allows control of asymmetric aerodynamic loads, which in turn influences structural loads in the nonrotating frame such as tower side-side bending. These loads are not easily controlled by traditional collective pitch algorithms. This paper presents the design of individual pitch control systems for implementation on the Controls Advanced Research Turbine (CART) in Colorado to verify controller performance for load attenuation. The control designs are based on linear time-periodic state-space models of the turbine and use optimal control methods for gain calculation. Comparisons are made between new individual pitch, new collective pitch, and baseline controller performance in both above rated and below rated wind conditions. Results from simulations show the potential of individual pitch to reduce tower side-side fatigue damage in above rated wind speeds (by 70% compared to baseline control) but with no improvement over collective pitch in below rated wind speeds. Fatigue load reductions in tower fare-aft, shaft torsion, and blade flap are also observed. From 13 h of field testing, both collective and individual pitch controllers achieve a reduction in fatigue damage. However, the superior performance of individual pitch control observed in simulation was not verified by the field test results.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)498-505
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-500-41019


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