16 Jun 2023
 | 16 Jun 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

How to identify design optimization problems that can be improved with a control co-design approach ?

Jenna Iori, Carlo Luigi Bottasso, and Michael Kenneth McWilliam

Abstract. Control co-design is a promising approach for wind turbine design due to the importance of the controller in power production, stability and load alleviation. However, the high computational effort required to solve optimization problems with added control design variables is a major obstacle to quantify the benefit of this approach. In this work, we propose a methodology to identify if a design problem can benefit from control co-design. The estimation method, based on post-optimum sensitivity analysis, quantifies how the optimal objective value varies with a change in control tuning.

The performance of the method is evaluated on a tower design optimization problem, where fatigue load constraints are a major driver, and using a Linear Quadratic Regulator targeting fatigue load alleviation. We use the gradient-based multi-disciplinary optimization framework Cp-max. Fatigue damage is evaluated with time-domain simulations corresponding to the certification standards. The estimation method applied to the optimal tower mass and optimal levelized cost of energy show good agreement with the results of the control-co design optimization, while using only a fraction of the computational effort.

Our results additionally show that there may be little benefit to use control co-design in the presence of an active frequency constraint. However, for a soft-soft tower configuration where the resonance can be avoided with active control, using control co-design results in a higher tower with reduced mass.

Jenna Iori, Carlo Luigi Bottasso, and Michael Kenneth McWilliam

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on wes-2023-58', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Jul 2023
  • RC2: 'Review of wes-2023-58', Erik Quaeghebeur, 19 Nov 2023
  • AC1: 'Comment on wes-2023-58', Jenna Iori, 04 Apr 2024
Jenna Iori, Carlo Luigi Bottasso, and Michael Kenneth McWilliam
Jenna Iori, Carlo Luigi Bottasso, and Michael Kenneth McWilliam


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Short summary
The controller of a wind turbine has an important role to regulate the power production and avoid failure of the structure. However, it is often designed after the rest of the turbine and thus its potential is not fully exploited. An alternative is to design the structure and the controller simultaneously. This work develops a method to identify if a given turbine design can benefit from this new simultaneous design process. For example, higher and cheaper turbine tower can be built this way.