GE Global Research and the US Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories have partnered to explore methods to reduce noise levels and increase power generation capacity of wind turbines.
As part of the research, GE scientists used Sandia’s Red Mesa supercomputer to perform complex calculations.
Red Mesa is designed with a large eddy simulation technology developed at Stanford University in the US.
GE said its scope of work was focused on advancing wind turbine blade noise prediction methods to ensure that its wind blades do not perform the current noise issues, by performing tests on airfoil level acoustic measurements in wind tunnels.
Field measurements have also been done to validate acceptable noise levels, and noise-reducing operating modes were deployed in the control system.
The company expects that a one decibel quieter rotor design may increase the energy generated by a turbine by 2% a year.
The 2% increase will add up to 5GW of wind power, given that around 240GW of wind is anticipated to be installed globally for the next five years.
GE said that the small increase would be enough to supply every household in New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles, combined.
GE Global Research wind technology platform leader Mark Jonkhof said by using high-performance computing to advance current engineering models that are used to predict blade noise, quieter rotors can be built with greater blade tip velocity that generate more power.
Jonkhof said: "This not only means lower energy costs for consumers, but also a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions..
"We found that high fidelity models can play a key role in accurately predicting trailing edge noise. We believe that the results achieved from our simulations would, at the very least, lay the groundwork for improved noise design models."
Image: Isosurfaces of vorticity from a Large Eddy Simulation. Photo: courtesy of GE.