Over the past decade wind turbines have been proven to be a competitive contender to produce cheap electricity. Their output electrical power went from few dozens of watts to several megawatts, and this trend is continuing to increase as they become larger in size. Most of these wind turbines are typically regulated through a set of controls acting on the electricity generator workload. These controls are achieved through the use of power electronics controlling the electrical load on the generator for variable speed wind turbine. This paper explores the possibility of implementing an alternative control system in variable wind speed turbines using a special gearbox with a high number of close consecutive discrete gear ratios. The proposed gear based Quasi-Continuous Variable Transmission, called QCVT, allows a variable speed at the input shaft and delivers a quasi-constant speed at the output shaft of the gearbox. The system consists of a special drivetrain assembly of spur gears run and controlled automatically through a set of clutch power shifters. The clutches are used to shift a set of compound gears, thus modifying the drivetrain total gear ratio. The designed system can produce up to 625 gear ratios and acts as a quasi-continuously variable transmission between the wind turbine hub and the electricity generator which requires a constant entry speed delivering a frequency of 60 Hz. The gearing transmission system has been designed using the SolidWorks CAD software for modeling and simulation and the gearing design theory has been used to dimension the special drivetrain assembly of spur gears. The kinematic gearing theory has been used to establish the multitude of close consecutive discrete gearing ratios of the transmission system. A wind driven rotor model for the wind turbine power coefficient has been used to determine the power absorbed by the wind turbine from the blowing wind and the power delivered to the electricity generator. The wind turbine torque generated by the wind and the torque produced at the electricity generator have also been determined using the multitude of gear ratios of the designed drivetrain. A new control law is established to keep the wind turbine generator running at a quasi-constant speed while producing maximum power. Considering the QCVT with its numerous close and consecutive gear ratios as the main torque regulator, the wind turbine system is expected to deliver the right needed torque for a specified electrical load. A set of results featuring how the electricity generator power and torque can be controlled by shifting the ratios of drivetrain transmissions are delivered. A particular emphasis is put on maximizing the generator delivered power using controlled gear ratios while the speed of the wind is changing. A small scale prototype of the QCVT powertrain transmission has been designed and built for concept demonstration and testing purposes.
Gear Based Quasi-Continuous Variable Transmission for Wind Turbines
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Hernandez, K, Wilson, D, Ressel, K, Nwoke, J, Soto, M, & Azzouz, MS. "Gear Based Quasi-Continuous Variable Transmission for Wind Turbines." Proceedings of the ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 6B: Energy. Houston, Texas, USA. November 13–19, 2015. V06BT07A040. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2015-50683
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