There are a number of approaches that can be taken towards wind turbine design and there are many issues that must be considered. The summation below outlines the steps in one approach and the following sections provide more details on some of those steps.
The key design steps include the following:
1. Determine application
2. Review previous experience
3. Select topology
4. Basic load considerations
5. Develop tentative design
6. Predict performance
7. Evaluate design
8. Estimate costs and cost of energy
9. Refine design
10. Build prototype
11. Test Prototype
12. Design production machine
Overview of design issues
Wind turbine design involves a great many considerations, ranging from the very general to the very detailed. The process of designing a wind turbine involves the conceptual assembling of a large number of mechanical and electrical components into a machine which can convert the varying power in the wind into useful form. This process is subject to a number of constraints, but the fundamental ones involve the potential economic viability of the design. Ideally, the wind turbine should be able to produce power at a cost lower than other renewable's. At this point this requirement is hard to reach.
The constraint of minimizing cost of energy has far-reaching implications. It impels the designer to minimize the cost of the individual components. On the other hand, the turbine design must be strong enough to survive any likely extreme events, and to operate reliably and with a minimum of repairs over a long period of time. The need to balance the cost of the wind turbine with the requirement that the turbine have a long, fatigue resistant life should be the fundamental concern of the designer.
- External aspects of design: site, goverment, customers...
- Internal aspects of design: company organization, design experience
- Design options (A): rotor, nacelle, tower, foundation
- Design options (B): control, installation and maintenance