Comparison of individual pitch and smart rotor control strategies for load reduction

Charles Edward Plumley, Bill Leithead, Peter Jamieson, E. Bossanyi, Mike Graham

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41 Citations (Scopus)
254 Downloads (Pure)


Load reduction is increasingly seen as an essential part of controller and wind turbine design. On large multi-MW wind turbines that experience high levels of wind shear and turbulence across the rotor, individual pitch control and smart rotor control are being considered. While individual pitch control involves adjusting the pitch of each blade individually to reduce the cyclic loadings on the rotor, smart rotor control involves activating control devices distributed along the blades to alter the local aerodynamics of the blades. Here we investigate the effectiveness of using a DQ-axis control and a distributed (independent) control for both individual pitch and trailing edge flap smart rotor control. While load reductions are similar amongst the four strategies across a wide range of variables, including blade root bending moments, yaw bearing and shaft, the pitch actuator requirements vary. The smart rotor pitch actuator has reduced travel, rates, accelerations and power requirements than that of the individual pitch controlled wind turbines. This benefit alone however would be hard to justify the added design complexities of using a smart rotor, which can be seen as an alternative to upgrading the pitch actuator and bearing. In addition, it is found that the independent control strategy is apt at roles that the collective pitch usually targets, such as tower motion and speed control, and it is perhaps here, in supplementing other systems, that the future of the smart rotor lies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012054
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • wind shear
  • smart rotor control
  • load reduction
  • multi-MW wind turbines
  • DQ-axis control


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