To expand the efficiency, reliability and profitability of wind turbines, several different im-provement and optimization concepts are currently under investigation and development. In this manner, the increase of the efficiency of wind turbines and the minimization of structural loads play an important role. This also includes the development of completely new ap-proaches, such as the integration of active elements, which are able to actively influence the flow and thus actively effect the aerodynamics of the rotor blades. In this context, the pro-posed joint research project intends to develop new concepts of active flow control on rotor blades of wind turbines based on novel structure-integrated fluidic actuators, which permit an adaptation of aerodynamics. This not only creates economic and ecological improvements in the production and operation of wind turbines, but also enables completely new rotor geome-tries. Important aspects of these developments are on the one hand novel actuator and con-trol concepts, and on the other hand innovative strategies for the integration of the actuators as well as additional components such as electronics and sensors. Based on these objec-tives, the following research areas are addressed in the joint research project:

  • Development of technologies for the optimization of the blade flow of wind energy systems based on the active flow control with fluidic actuators
  • Numerical and experimental analysis of technologies and optimization hypotheses
  • Concepts and technologies for the integration of fluidic actuators into the fiber-reinforced rotor blade structure
  • Development of an evaluation and control concept for the (lifecycle-oriented) econom-ic profitability of the use of active flow control

To achieve these goals, a consortium of research institutes, university professorships, indus-trial enterprises and SMEs has joined forces to work closely together.

The research topics can be structured according to the technical work packages of the project, which are divided as follows:

WP 1: Aerodynamics and aeroacoustics, investigation of rotor blades with and without AFC

The goal is to establish the basis and requirements for actuator development using numerical and experimental aerodynamic and aeroelastic analyses as well as testing the hypotheses in wind tunnel tests and comparing the results with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analyses.

WP 2: Actuator and actuator system development, development of integration concepts

In this work package, the development of a suitable actuator as well as sensor system based on the aerodynamic studies and experiments (from WP1) is performed. Research and construction of novel functionalized products suitable for integration into the fiber-reinforced rotor blade structure that do not compromise structural integrity.

WP 3: Economic and ecologic evaluation and control

Development and application of an economically (and ecologically) oriented life cycle related evaluation and control concept using validated figures from the project developments. The added value of the addressed technologies is shown. The focus is both set on the development of the overall system and on the manufacturing phase of the single components. In addition, the systematic achievement of innovation success is addressed by means of business model development and risk mitigation.

WP 4: Characterization of the performance, robustness and reliability of the actuators

Definition of the requirement profiles for the developments and, based on this, characterization of the performance, robustness and reliability of the actuators. All those points are with regard to the industrial requirements for specific applications.