In December, novel Power Output Optimizer software was installed on a commercial wind turbine. This software adjusts some key parameters that influence the power output in partial load. Partial load conditions refer to wind conditions where the generator speed is less than its rated value. Roughly speaking, the wind speed is then less than 'stormy' (women's hair is not twisted). In short, these wind conditions are quite common. In those conditions, the wind turbine should extract as much power from the wind as possible. Its ability to do so depends on its design, but also on some key parameters, such as the blade angle.
Just like a racing saling ship should set its sails optimally, the wind turbine should set its blade angles optimally. We did that. And more (there were some more parameters that were adjusted by the optimizer).
As a result, the power output, in partial load, increased by 2%. Maybe this does not sound much to you, but if we tell you that it concerned a wind turbine that had just been tuned optimally for a certification?
The PID Tuner software has now been tested successfully to a pressure control loop and an oxygen control loop of an industrial burner, and a steam temperature control loop of an industrial boiler.
The EU project TESTBED aims at developing innovative solutions for Smart Grids. Smart Grids are new methods of electricity distribution. The current way of electricty distribution consists, roughly speaking, of centralised electicity producers, and decentralised consumers of electricity. However, there is an ever increasing number of decentralised electricity generators, such as wind turbines, solar panels, etcetera. Furthermore, their electricty generation depends on the wheather. The traditional electricty supplier method: just make sure to meet the demand, is inefficient: if there is no demand, one has to get rid of the electricity. The idea of Smart Grids (Smart electricty distribution) is to allow (some of the) consumer appliances to adjust their demand based on the price of electricity. Smart Grids are not yet widespread. However, there are locations where these ideas are likely to be explored soon, such as islands with local electricity networks.
DotX is not likely to actively contribute to Smart Grid research, but instead, we will pick the brains of the researchers involved and try to 'steal' their ideas and convert them into commercial applications. Is that bad? No, this is what the EU and the researchers want us to do!