Advanced control methods for cross-flow turbines

  • B. Strom
  • S. L. Brunton
  • B. Polagye
Keywords: Hydrokinetic, Cross-flow, Vertical axis, Turbine, Control


Cross-flow turbines have a number of potential advantages for hydrokinetic energy applications. Two novel control schemes for improving cross-flow turbine energy conversion are introduced and demonstrated through scale experiments. The first aims to alter the local flow conditions on the blades through varying blade kinematics as a function of rotational position, thus increasing beneficial fluid forcing. An established method accomplishes this by oscillating the mounting angle of the blade. Instead we proposed to vary the angular velocity of the blade as a function of azimuthal position. Optimizing this controller resulted in a 59% increase in turbine performance over standard controllers. The second control scheme operates an array of two turbines in a coordinated manner to take advantage of periodic wake structures. For a range of relative turbine positions, a parent controller maintains a constant blade position difference between turbines with the same angular velocity. For select positions, the array efficiency is shown to be greater than that of a single turbine. At the optimal position, coordinated control results in a 4% increase in array performance over uncoordinated operation. Finally, intracycle angular velocity and coordinated control schema are combined.