Optimization-based MPC controllers generated with FORCES Pro were embedded in Vestas’ wind turbine control software and deployed to turbines in the field. As of November 2016 they have been operating flawlessly for a year, corresponding to over 200 million solver calls (and counting) with only two solver calls not resulting in an optimal solution. Both of these failures occurred during experimental, excessive parameters which are not representative of a typical production turbine. The chance to win the 6/49 lottery are over five times better than a FORCES Pro solver not returning an optimal result.
The reduced number of tuning parameters, their intuitive physical interpretation, and the efficient simulation capabilities of FORCES Pro enable rapid control system design for a new wind turbine. Additionally, the MPC controller delivers noticeably better performance: data collected from two wind turbines – one equipped with the traditional control system and one with the new MPC controllers – show that the optimization-based controllers can reduce the mechanical loads, significantly reducing the cost of the supporting structure, e.g. by reducing the amount of steel in the tower. At the same time, power output is not compromised: the optimization approach ensured that at least the same amount of energy is extracted from the wind. This in turn means economic benefits for the customers of Vestas because of optimized, model-based design.
More information on MPC for wind turbine control can be found in the following publication:
Hovgaard, T.G., Boyd, S., and Jørgensen, J.B., “Model Predictive Control for Wind Power Gradients,” Wind Energy 18(6):991-1006, 2015, doi:10.1002/we.1742.
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