Wind Energy Program Marks Progress

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The wind energy platform of the Iowa NSF EPSCoR project continues to develop technologies to improve the reliability of wind energy systems. Weifei Hu, a Ph.D. student in mechanical and industrial engineering the University of Iowa, and his advisor, Kyung K. (KK) Choi, have developed a method to characterize wind uncertainty, which is modeled by the uncertainty of two random variables, mean wind speed, and turbulence intensity factor.

The two researchers wrote a paper and presented it at the AIAA/ISSMO Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization Conference, which was held Sept. 17-19, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The next research challenge is to convert this wind uncertainty into the uncertainty of the loading to the wind turbine system.  Once an accurate wind load uncertainty model is generated, other researchers in the Iowa NSF EPSCoR project can use it for reliability analysis and reliability-based design optimization (RBDO) of their applications, such as turbine blades, gear systems, bearings, etc.

In addition, KK Choi and his students have developed a beta-version of the Iowa Reliability-Based Design Optimization (I-RBDO) software system under the support of the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) via the Automotive Research Center (ARC).  The beta-version of the I-RBDO code was delivered to government (US Army TARDEC), industry (Ford Motor Company), and academia (University of Michigan and Seoul National University) for successful applications.  The beta-version I-RBDO code will be provided to appropriate Iowa NSF EPSCoR researchers for reliability analysis and RBDO of their applications.