ECN part of TNO, WMC, DNV-GL and GE are participating in the TKI WoZ project “Vortex Loads”, to reduce uncertainty in wind turbine design load calculations. The computational effort for these design loads calculations is more extreme than it is for other applications (e.g. aerospace) which necessitates the use of efficient but low-fidelity models. Traditionally the Blade Element Momentum (BEM) method is used to resolve the rotor aerodynamics loads for this purpose, as this method is fast and robust. With the increasing rotor size, and consequently large and flexible blades, a need has risen for more accurate rotor aerodynamics. Previous work has demonstrated large improvement potential in using vortex wake models together with a manageable penalty in computational effort.
The project consortium will work towards making vortex wake models ready for application to certification load calculations. The reduction in fatigue loading using a vortex-wake model instead of the blade element momentum model will be evaluated by comparison against Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) results. Improved modelling and a potential aerodynamic loads reduction result in reduced blade mass and/or further upscaling perspective leading to a reduction in levelized cost of electricity.