"Control of Wind Turbines: Accomplishments and Challenges"

Lucy Pao, Professor, Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering Dept, University of Colorado

February 25th (Friday), 3:00pm
Webb Hall 1100

Wind energy is recognized worldwide as cost-effective and environmentally friendly and is among the world’s fastest-growing electrical energy sources. Despite the amazing growth in the installed capacity of wind turbines in recent years, engineering and science challenges still exist. These large, flexible structures operate in uncertain, time-varying wind and weather conditions and lend themselves nicely to advanced control solutions. Advanced controllers can help achieve the overall goal of decreasing the cost of wind energy by increasing the efficiency, and thus the energy capture, or by reducing structural loading and increasing the lifetimes of the components and turbine structures.

In this talk, we will first provide an overview of wind energy systems. We will describe the main components of wind turbines, the sensors and actuators, the different operating regions, and we will outline the current state of the art in wind turbine modeling and control. We will then discuss our recent work in developing combined feedforward and feedback controllers for wind turbines using novel wind inflow sensing technologies. Model-inverse based controllers, H-infinity controllers, and model predictive controllers can be designed to take advantage of preview wind measurements to yield significant reductions in structural loading while maintaining the power capture levels of the wind turbine. We shall close by discussing a number of challenges and highlighting areas of future work, including coordinated control of arrays of turbines on wind farms and modeling and control of floating offshore wind turbines.

About Lucy Pao, Professor:

Lucy Pao received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, a Visiting Miller Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and a Visiting Scholar at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She has interests in the areas of control systems (with applications to flexible structures, atomic force microscopes, disk drives, tape systems, power converters, and wind turbines), multisensor data fusion (with applications to unmanned autonomous vehicles, satellites, and automotive active safety systems), and haptic and multimodal visual/haptic/audio interfaces (with applications to scientific visualization and spatial communication).

Professor Pao has received a number of awards and has been active in many professional society committees and positions. Selected honors include a NSF CAREER Award, an ONR Young Investigator Award, an IFAC World Congress Young Author Prize, and a World Haptics Conference Best Paper Award. Selected current activities include being an IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) Distinguished Lecturer, a member of the IEEE CSS Board of Governors, General Chair for the 2013 American Control Conference, and a member of the US Defense Science Study Group. She is also the Scientific Director for the Center for Research and Education in Wind (CREW), a multi-institutional wind energy center involving the University of Colorado at Boulder, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines, and Colorado State University, in partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hosted by: CCDC Seminar