A demonstration of the use of Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) is presented for the identification of energetic modes that characterize the spatial random field describing the inflow turbulence experienced by a wind turbine. POD techniques are efficient because a limited number of such modes can often describe the preferred turbulence spatial patterns and they can be empirically developed using data from spatial arrays of sensed input/excitation. In this study, for demonstration purposes, rather than use field data, POD modes are derived by employing the covariance matrix estimated from simulations of the spatial inflow turbulence field based on standard spectral models. The efficiency of the method in deriving reduced-order representations of the along-wind turbulence field is investigated by studying the rate of convergence (to total energy in the turbulence field) that results from the use of different numbers of POD modes, and by comparing the frequency content of reconstructed fields derived from the modes. The National Wind Technology Center’s Advanced Research Turbine (ART) is employed in the examples presented, where both inflow turbulence and turbine response are studied with low-order representations based on a limited number of inflow POD modes. Results suggest that a small number of energetic modes can recover the low-frequency energy in the inflow turbulence field as well as in the turbine response measures studied. At higher frequencies, a larger number of modes are required to accurately describe the inflow turbulence. Blade turbine response variance and extremes, however, can be approximated by a comparably smaller number of modes due to diminished influence of higher frequencies.

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