ATLAS – individual blade control

Wind farm

ATLAS (Advanced Turbine Load Alleviation System) is a patented individual blade control solution for load reduction and turbine performance enhancement. It works by adjusting each blade’s pitch angle individually in response to measured loads.

ATLAS is proven to significantly reduce fatigue loads and extreme loads on the blades, drive train shaft and structures of large, utility-scale wind and tidal turbines.

Use the ATLAS to:

  • Target loads – ATLAS can be fine-tuned to target the most important loads on your turbine including both lifetime fatigue and extreme loads
  • Optimise your turbines – Load reduction allows the optimisation of turbine designs and reduces downtime and maintenance costs while extending turbine life expectancy
  • Improved energy output by allowing for use of bigger blades.

With ATLAS, rotor imbalances and loads are minimised by adjusting each blade’s pitch angle individually in response to measured loads. This dramatically reduces fatigue loads and extreme loads on the blades, drive train shaft and turbine structure of large, utility scale wind turbines.

SgurrControl’s ATLAS individual blade control solution is based on the principle of isolated blade control. The method employed is to control only blade dynamics by using just local blade information. This is achieved by changing the frame of reference on which control variables act.

The advantages of ATLAS IBC have been shown in various papers and conference presentations including successful simulations using industry standard GH Bladed software and the NREL 5MW standard model and are starting to gain traction for field implementations.

The ATLAS IBC vs. Individual Pitch Control

There are important differences between the ATLAS individual blade control solution and alternative Individual Pitch Control (IPC) approaches.

With ATLAS the loads on each blade are controlled by a dedicated controller to each blade. In IPC the net over turning and yawing moments are measured and controlled by coordinated pitching of three blades by the central controller. In contrast the next generation controllers developed by SgurrControl focus on the reduction of loads on individual blades.

Any combination of in-plane and out-of-plane loads can be selected depending on the performance requirements of a particular wind turbine. It has been shown that this much greater flexibility has the ability to reduce lifetime fatigue and extreme blade loads on large wind turbines without compromising other performance requirements. Alternative approaches, including IPC, do not have this ability, flexibility or the potential for further improvements.

With ATLAS, the blade dynamics are decoupled from the dynamics of the rest of the wind turbine, thus the blade controller, being dependent on the blade and actuator dynamics alone, is straightforward to design and easy to tune and is not influenced by the design of the central controller. This has the large benefit of removing a lot of the risk and uncertainty in modelling the turbine’s dynamics. Since ATLAS only requires the blade and actuator dynamics to be accurate the resulting algorithm is much more robust and also independent of changes to the dynamics in the rest of the turbine through its operating life. In contrast, in IPC the controller is designed based on the whole turbine dynamics and thus is much more complex to tune and also more susceptible to problems if the design model is not accurate.

Another key attribute is that the ATLAS individual blade control algorithm works independently of the main controller. No communication is required with the central controller, the presence of the local blade controllers is invisible to the central controller and so does not affect its performance in any way.

Please get in touch for more information.