Wind & Water Power Newsletter July/ August 2015

In this Issue: Sandia's Wind & Water Power Update for July/ August 2015

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Sandia’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Program Newsletter highlights key activities, articles on current research projects, latest reports, papers, and events published by Sandia. This monthly newsletter is intended for wind industry partners, stakeholders, universities and potential partners.

This issue contains recent news stories related to both wind and water power in support of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Wind and Water Power Program.

Wind Energy

Wind Plant Optimization

Sandia Wake Imaging System Successfully Deployed at the SWiFT Facility


Figure 1. Sandia Wake Imaging System deployed at the SWiFT Facility in July 2015.

The Sandia Wake Imaging System (SWIS) was deployed for a full-scale field demonstration at the Sandia Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) Facility in Lubbock, Texas over the first three weeks of July 2015. The successful field-demonstration was a culmination of over 3 years of technical development, more than a year of safety, environmental and regulatory approvals, and the efforts of 20 individuals from across Sandia and its partners. The team collected hours of inflow data covering a 3.5 m square viewing region along with simultaneous measurements from a nearby sonic anemometer, the SWiFT Sandia meteorological tower, and a Pentalum SpiDAR LiDAR system operated by Texas Tech University researchers. In the coming months, the Sandia team will be analyzing over 50 gigabytes of data collected to learn more about how the SWIS operates in the field and what improvements would be most effective at helping achieve experimental measurement requirements for the next campaign.


Figure 2. A view upwind of the aerosol generating system.

The Sandia Wake Imaging System (SWIS) was developed to improve the spatial and temporal resolution capabilities of velocity measurements within wind farms. These high-resolution velocity measurements are needed to provide the necessary data for validating high-fidelity simulations. SWIS uses a technology (explained thoroughly in a previous report) where the velocity component measured and quality of the measurement depends on the configuration of the transmitter (laser sheet), receiver (camera), and viewing region. As a result of the complicated measurement dependence on setup configuration and the need to meet the validation requirements at many locations in a wind turbine wake, a software tool that models the physics of SWIS was developed to better predict and anticipate the system’s performance when deployed at the Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility. Data from the recent field test will be used to verify the accuracy of this tool for future test campaign planning.

The experience and data obtained from this recent field test will be used to guide the next phase of the project in the coming year. Through ongoing discussions with high-fidelity modelers and experimentalists with complimentary instrumentation, the SWIS team will refine the system to meet upcoming experimental objectives. This may include upgrades to hardware and software systems as well as data post-processing techniques to prepare for future verification and validation exercises planned under the Atmosphere to Electron (A2e) and other research programs. For more information, please contact the author below.

 Brian Naughton, (505) 844-4033.

Materials, Reliability & Standards

Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation – Inaugural Members Meeting

Sandia Wind Department technical staff members Josh Paquette and Brian Naughton attended the inaugural members meeting for the newly formed Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) in Knoxville, TN,  June 16th – 18th.  A few hundred attendees from the composites industry, academic institutions, and government agencies gathered to learn about opportunities to participate in the newest institute to join the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, established through the Revitalize American Manufacturing Act.

The program began with a signing ceremony between the DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson, IACMI CEO Craig Blue, and University of Tennessee Executive Vice President David Millhorn. Following were a series of presentations on the organizational structure and goals of the IACMI. The Five Year Technical Goals for IACMI include:

  • 25% lower carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) cost
  • 50% reduction in CFRP embodied energy
  • 80% composite recyclability into useful products

These goals will be achieved through the integrated research and development work conducted in 5 technology areas: Wind Turbines, Vehicles, Compressed Gas Storage, Design, Modeling & Simulation, and Composite Materials & Process. Each technology area is headed by a director that will help coordinate research within and between technology areas to ensure the work meets the overall institute goals.

Sandia National Laboratories looks forward to bringing their 25 plus years of experience in wind turbine composites and manufacturing to the institute to work with previous and new industry and academic partners to realize the Institute’s goals and enhance the competitiveness of US composites manufacturing.

For more information, please contact the authors below.

Brian Naughton, 505-844-4033.

Josh Paquette, 505-844-7766.

Version 24 of the Composite Materials Database Now Available for Download

Wind turbine blade growth continues to have the largest impact on energy capture and LCOE reduction. While the 40-45 meter blade is today’s mainstream segment, it is estimated that blades over 50m will be the global norm by 2020, as the industry continues to develop higher power rating and lower-wind-speed turbines. This considerable growth in blade length drives challenging technical and economic demands on blade designers requiring a constantly improving understanding of composite material behavior in realistic wind applications.

To address this continued need, Sandia National Laboratories has partnered with Montana State University since 1989 to test and report key data and trends of fiber-reinforced polymers (composites) and other materials used in the construction of wind turbine blades.  As of 2015, researchers at Montana State University have compiled the results of over 16,000 tests on 500 materials into a publically available database along with technical papers explaining key trends to meet this critical industry need.


Figure 3. Montana State University researchers have added acoustic emission and digital image correlation instrumentation to enhance the data collection capabilities of the sub-structure test fixture.

Recent additions to the blade materials database include:

  • Unidirectional and + 45 static and fatigue results for three epoxy resin systems (Hexion 035, 135 and 145) with fiberglass fabrics
  • Static and fatigue results for Materia pDCPD and glass fiber composites
  • Updated references, contacts, links to complete reports discussing data.

The latest database (v.24.0) is available for download here.

Related publications can be accessed on Sandia’s website and the Montana State University Composite Technologies Research Group website.

For more information please contact the author below.

Brian Naughton, (505) 844-4033.

Water Power

Wave Energy: Device Performance

Lab Researchers and FOA Awardees Collaborate on WEC Survival

Researchers from Sandia and NREL will be working with awardees of DE-FOA-0001310 on the survival analysis of wave energy converters (WECs). Up to three awardees will collaborate with lab researchers with the aims of increasing device survivability and reducing system design margins. Design response analysis methods and processes developed at Sandia and NREL will be employed to produce more accurate predictions of extreme responses and design loads for the awardees’ devices.

Ryan Coe, (505) 845-9064.

Water Power:   Wave Energy – Device Modeling:  Development of a 1:17 Scaled Model

A large number of theoretical studies have shown promising results in the additional energy that can be captured through control of the power conversion chains (PCCs) of resonant WEC devices. The numerical models employed in these studies are, however, idealized to varying degrees. The objective of the Resilient Nonlinear Controls (RNLC) project is to validate the extent to which control strategies, given real world limitations, can increase the energy production of rigid-body WEC devices. RNLC includes both numerical and experimental components in order to make the difficult leap from idealized, theoretical paper studies to deployable WEC hardware.


Figure 4. General overview of the T3R2 device.

A 1:17 scaled WEC shown in Fig. 4, named T3R2 (three-translations, two-rotations), has been designed and is currently being constructed for the experimental component of this project. The operational principle of the device was selected to provide a test-bed for control strategies, in which a specific control strategies effectiveness and the parameters on which its effectiveness depends can be empirically determined. Numerical design studies were employed to determine the device geometry, so as to maximize testing opportunities in the Maneuvering and Seakeeping (MASK) Basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s David Taylor Model Basin.

To better approach the reality of ocean-deployed WECs, a number of sources of nonlinearity were intentionally included in the T3R2's design. Additionally, the device was designed such that the presence of these nonlinearities, which include dynamics, viscous losses, overtopping and breaching events, nonlinear hydrostatics/hydrodynamics as well as motion constraints, can be largely controlled, either via mechanical ``locks'' or through the input to the system (i.e. basin waves).


Figure 5. Detailed view of the float.

T3R2 is selectively allowed to move in three dimensions. The T3R2's float is connected to the power conversion mechanism through a lockable universal joint (see ``U-joint'' in the detailed representation of the float Fig. 5). Detailed views of the planned and as currently constructed power conversion chain are shown in Fig. 6. The motions of the body in roll and pitch (yaw is not allowed) nonlinearly couple into the heave DOF thus affecting power conversion. A planar motion table (PMT) allowing the entire device (body plus power conversion mechanism) to translate in the horizontal plane was selected to emulate the mooring systems of most deep water devices (see ``PMT'' in Fig. 4). The PMT is also selectively controllable such that the device can be locked in a given x-y location. The restoring force provided by the PMT will mimic a compliant mooring system and will result in large natural resonances in surge and sway that are outside of the model-scale waves.

The sensor suite developed for T3R2 is broad in nature and will result in a wealth of large scale experimental data. Sensors have been chosen that allow for real-time control, model validation, and health monitoring. All motions of the device will be tracked redundantly through on-board sensors and an external motion tracking system. Force in all the translational degrees of freedom will be measured. A series of sensors shown in Fig. 5 will monitor the pressure distribution on one quadrant of the float. Lastly, impact events (slam) will be recorded with fast-rise pressure sensors as well as in-house developed slam panels. 


Figure 6. Detailed view of the PCC and as currently constructed PCC.

Wave Energy: Array Performance & Environmental Effects

Oregon Wave Energy Trust (OWET) Ocean Renewable Energy Conference X, Portland, Oregon (4/14–17/2015)

Jesse Roberts of Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) attended and presented at the Oregon Wave Energy Trusts (OWTET) 10th annual Ocean Renewable Energy Conference in Portland, Oregon.  The conference was co-located with HydroVision International which had over 3,000 attendees from all over the world. Jesse was part of a special panel with Al Livecchi of the National Renewable Energy Lab and Simon Geerlofs of Pacific Northwest National Lab. The panel introduced mechanisms for Industry and National Lab engagement with focus on the newly launched Small Business Voucher (SBV) pilot program. The SBV pilot program will give small, clean-energy companies access to national lab expertise and resources to help small businesses overcome the technical challenges that hinder their technical and economic growth.  Although the SBV program crosses over many renewable energy areas, this panel focused on marine renewable energy. After the introduction of the SBV program, each Lab representative provided a brief overview of the marine hydrokinetic (MHK) projects and capabilities performed within their respective water power departments. The remainder of the panel session was spent addressing audience questions about the SBV program and Laboratory capabilities.  There was quite a bit of excitement from those present about the new SBV program. It was quite clear that the SBV program will provide the most direct mechanism to date for industry-national laboratory collaboration.

Jesse Roberts, (505) 844-5730.

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