Date of Graduation

9-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Nutter, Darin

Reader

Roe, Larry

Abstract

The wind industry is a fast growing market and is quickly becoming competitive with traditional non-renewable energy resources. As with any developing industry, research must continually be redefined as more complex understandings of design variables are learned. Optimization studies are common ways to quickly refine design variable selections. Historical wind turbine data shows that the tower hub height to rotor diameter ratio scales almost linearly. However there is no specific rule that dictates the optimum hub height for a given diameter. This study addresses this question by using an Excel based optimization program to determine the height to diameter ratio of a simulated turbine with the lowest cost of energy. Using a wind turbine power curve database and previous scaling relationships/cost models, the optimum hub height to rotor diameter ratio is predicted. The results of this simulation show that current cost and scaling models do not reflect an accurate optimum height to diameter ratio. However, these cost and scaling models can be modified to provide more accurate predictions of the optimum hub height for a given rotor diameter. This simulation predicts that future large scale wind turbines will have aspect ratios closer to 0.5.

Keywords

Wind, energy, sustainability, turbine, design, optimization

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