Texas Tech University.

NWI Director and Research Faculty Awarded NSF CBET Funding



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NWI Research Faculty Dr. Brian Hirth and NWI Director Dr. John Schroeder have been awarded funding by the National Science Foundation Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (NSF CBET) program for their proposal to collaborate between Texas Tech University (TTU) and multiple industry partners using research-grade radars and regional wind farms.

Titled “Building the Foundation for Smart Wind Farms through First-Order Controls Opportunities based on Real-Time Observations of Complex Flows,” the project will use the two mobile TTU Ka-band radar systems to study complex flows and turbine-to-turbine interaction within various wind farms in the region. Currently, there is a dearth of real-time wind data fed into wind farm control systems, and individual turbines are unable to react in a timely manner to rapidly changing wind conditions.

According to Lead PI Dr. Brian Hirth, a key aspect of this project will be the collaboration with wind farm operators who will manually control turbine operation (e.g. yaw a turbine, turning turbines on and off, etc.) during periods of radar data collection to see the impact on the wind flow through the entire wind farm. The radar measurements will then be used to help develop the next generation of “smart” wind farm controls. This project has the potential to transform how wind farms operate by providing operators with comprehensive and timely wind maps that, when used in real-time, will lead to more efficient and higher-performance wind farms.

“This is an exciting opportunity for TTU to remain on the forefront of wind energy research. It’s a unique chance to collaborate with industry to help develop the next generation of smart wind farms,” added Dr. Hirth.

The NSF CBET program is part of the Directorate of Engineering, and funds fewer than 20% of its total applications for research. The project is funded for 30 months starting in September.

See here for more information about the NSF CBET Program.