The calculation of load assumptions is crucial for the development and optimisation of wind energy plants. Today these loads are determined through the use of so-called aero-elastic codes as highly-specialised simulation tools. The objective of these simulations is to produce results that are as precise and realistic as possible, which is the only way to ensure the proper design of modern wind energy systems. Achieving this goal requires the continuous development of the relevant programmes based on the latest empirical data. For this reason, the simulation of wind turbines is one of the main research areas at the Chair of Wind Energy Technology.
In this context, in collaboration with Windrad Engineering GmbH, the Chair of Wind Energy Technology is developing the in-house Simulation of Wind Energy Converters (SiWEC) simulation programme, in which the wind turbine is modelled as a multibody mechanical system. This relies upon the strict configuration of the model as a series of mechanically coupled sub-models (generator, tower, rotor etc.). The simulation programme utilises state-of-the-art rotor element theory and a detailed model of the foundation-subsoil interactions for all on and offshore foundations. By using efficient mathematical solution methods, the SiWEC enables the precise and rapid computation of the design-relevant wind turbine loads. A graphic output (see graphic) also enables the visualisation of the modelled wind turbine, which in turn provides an additional layer of quality control, for example during the computation of special load cases.
For further improvements and validation, the Chair of Wind Energy Technology has participated in phase III of the Offshore Code Comparison Collaboration Continuation, with Correlation (OC5) project with its SiWEC programme. In this project a number of different simulation tools were validated against empirical data from a wind turbine installed in Germany's first offshore wind farm - Alpha Ventus.