Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

On Heat Transfer Issues for Wind Energy Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Bengt Sunden

Fellow ASME
Department of Energy Sciences,
Lund University,
PO Box 118,
Lund SE-22100, Sweden
e-mail: bengt.sunden@energy.lth.se

Zan Wu

Department of Energy Sciences,
Lund University,
PO Box 118,
Lund SE-22100, Sweden
e-mail: zan.wu@energy.lth.se

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received September 24, 2016; final manuscript received December 16, 2016; published online February 24, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Ryo Amano.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 139(5), 051201 (Feb 24, 2017) (5 pages) Paper No: JERT-16-1384; doi: 10.1115/1.4035553 History: Received September 24, 2016; Revised December 16, 2016

Control of heat transfer is important in wind power systems. In cold climate, the problems of icing and de-icing of the turbine blades need to be handled by efficient heat transfer technologies. Heat-generating components like electric generator, gear box, and frequency converters usually need cooling under operation by various cooling solutions such as air cooling, liquid cooling, and evaporative cooling. This paper reviews heat transfer problems in wind energy systems and presents some existing solutions to manage the thermal issues, and also discusses the challenges and new ideas on finding improved methods to control the heat transfer or cooling. Advanced liquid and evaporative cooling methods are suggested. Also, the need for improved ice sensors is discussed particularly for the ice accretion on the turbine blades.

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Fig. 1

Global cumulative installed wind power capacity from 2000 to 2015 [2]

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Fig. 2

Heating mats for a wind turbine blade. Adapted from Siemens [12].

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Fig. 3

Comparison of the energy metering data for wind turbines with and without hot air de-icing at Dragaliden, Sweden [13]. WT indicates wind turbine.

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Fig. 4

Air-air plate heat exchangers and the patented plate design. Courtesy from Heatex AB.

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Fig. 5

A closed-loop air cooling system patented by Wobben [14]. Adapted from Wobben [14].

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Fig. 6

An exemplified liquid cooling solution

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Fig. 7

Cold plate examples: (a) tube liquid cold plate [15], and (b) powdered metal cold plate [16]

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Fig. 8

An evaporative cooling system [11]

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Fig. 9

Sketch of a flat micro-heat pipe (not to scale)



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