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GE Global Research, the technology development arm of the General Electric Company, have announced research that could significantly impact the design of future wind turbine blades.
Utilizing the power of high-performance computing (HPC) to perform complex calculations, GE engineers have overcome previous design constraints, allowing them to begin exploring ways to design reengineered wind blades that are low-noise and more prolific power-producers. Partnering with the Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, GE’s work focused on advancing wind turbine blade noise prediction methods. Efforts to reduce blade noise can help reduce the cost of wind energy and increase power output. In fact, GE predicts a 1 decibel quieter rotor design would result in a two per cent increase in annual energy yield per turbine. GE’s testing involved Sandia’s Red Mesa supercomputer running a high-fidelity Large Eddy Simulation (LES) code, developed at Stanford University, to predict the detailed fluid dynamic phenomena and resulting wind blade noise. For a period of three months, this LES simulation of the turbulent air flow past a wind blade section was continuously performed on the Red Mesa HPC. The resulting flow-field predictions yielded valuable insights that were used to assess current engineering design models, the assumptions they make that most impact noise predictions, and the accuracy and reliability of model choices.
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