Wind Turbine Design Mechanical & Structural Engineering
Wind Development Aeronautical Engineering
Small Wind Turbine Testing
Wind Development Aeronautical Engineering
Small Wind Turbine Testing
Wind turbine manufacturers have sought our support for all phases of design. In the initial conceptual phase, for instance, our proprietary software is capable of assessing both HAWT and VAWT performance and loads, so to quickly evaluate multiple turbine configurations. Once the optimal configuration is chosen, we recommend performing detailed aeroelastic simulations and, in case, multi-body dynamic modeling to accurately predict inertial and aerodynamic loads. The important aspects of the governor mechanism and generator are incorporated in this phase. During detail design, we evaluate airfoil aerodynamic characeristics, and blade structural integrity against fatigue and ultimate loading. We use commercial codes for finite element analyses to refine the structural design and composite material layout. Some of our modeling capabilities also benefit from a close collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (National Wind Technology Center) aimed at revising and extending state-of-the-art aeroelastic models and structural codes.
Our passion for small wind turbine design reflects into a rigorous engineering approach throughout the entire project. We closely follow the IEC 61400-2, ISO 2394, and other applicable standards to reach the highest quality in our design. As a confirmation, the SWCC has chosen RRD Engineering as independent structural engineer reviewer in support of turbine certification.
We specialize in the design and analysis of new mechanical devices as well as of retrofits to existing structures. Clients asked us to redesign met-towers, hoisting systems, girder beams, roofs of buildings, billboard supports, etc..
We have also carried out detailed calculations for innovative renewable energy systems, and load analysis on solar photovoltaic panels and solar troughs; designed foundations for large buildings and airport additions.
Other activities included energy and efficiency calculations for ventilation systems, and for underground thermodynamic systems.
We participated in field testing of various components, from gas turbines, to wind turbines, and solar panels. Tests included vibration and modal analysis, acoustic noise, and power performance.
We take pride in our dedication to details and in our methodical approach. Analytical methods are employed at the beginning of a project, when multiple options need to be investigated. Once a design configuration is locked, we recommend an in-depth numerical modeling approach: either a finite element analysis or a computational fluid dynamics simulation depending on the specifics of the project.
If the need arises, our extended network of collaborators can help tackle the most challenging of the models and reach effective and timely solutions for our clients.
RRD Engineering can follow projects from conception to operation.
Our services take advantage of state-of-the-art modeling techniques and our unparalleled knowledge of atmospheric processes and fluid-dynamics. Yet our rates are extremely competitive. Thus, we can efficiently characterize a site in terms of its wind power potential reducing risks for the developer and maximizing their return on investment.
RRD Engineering specializes in small and community wind development, helping farmers, ranchers, and landowners who seek either off-grid or grid-tie solutions. Our experience includes wind/solar and wind/diesel systems for power islands.
When we take on a new project, we look at all the key parameters that can make a project viable: wind climatology, land usage, proximity of electrical grid, topography, environmental constraints. The most promising windy areas are ranked based on site visits and validation of existing datasets such as the North American Regional Reanalysis database.
If a site is worth further investigation, we consult with our clients to set up the best portfolio of activities among the following ones.
- Wind Resource Assessment and Micrositing
Depending on the complexity of the site, RRD Engineering will recommend the most efficient strategy to extract the micro-scale wind characteristics. Siting of meteorological towers (met-towers) and data monitoring are core services included in the Wind Resource Assessment.
Met-tower siting is crucial, as we seek to maximize the value of the measurements while minimizing costs to our clients. We rely on initial modeling of the flow characteristics as well on our wind engineering experience. No matter the project size, we will always commence the wind resource assessment with a site survey. In certain situations, we may recommend the deployment of a SODAR machine to complement the met-towers.
We then extend the measurements at the towers through detailed numerical simulations. A wind resource map is then produced at a resolution of about 50 m, and the initial layout of the wind farm can be attained.
The actual micrositing will seek maximum energy yield (Annual Energy Production), while accounting for wake effects and interferences among turbines, and matching a set of environmental, geotechnical, and logistical constraints. The end result of this activity is the optimal wind farm turbine layout and its overall capacity factor and AEP, the most important factors for the economic analysis and financial planning of the wind power plant.
- Economic Analysis
Wind project economics is difficult for the stochastic nature of the energy source, but also because of the numerous parameters involved. RRD Engineering assesses the benefit/cost ratios of various alternatives with state-of-the-art economical models to guide the developer towards the most profitable cash flow outcome, evaluating return on investment rates and payback periods at the same time. In the past, we have analyzed the economics of wind farms, of wind/diesel hybrid power systems for remote villages, and of residential wind turbines. Our estimates are rigorously reviewed on a case by case basis through independent checks and consultations with vendors and other experts to guarantee the most reliable projections for our clients.
- Environmental Impact Studies and Permitting
We believe high degrees of wind penetration can be achieved when attention is directed to the harmonization of the infrastructure within the environment. RRD Engineering has experience with Noise and Visual assessments of both small and large wind installations. We usually start with detailed GPS/photo surveys and sound measurements according to IEC standards. Then the wind park visual appearance is rendered with stills (photomontage) and virtual reality animations for the benefit of stakeholders. The shadow flickering analysis due to the blades intercepting the sun light is also quantified at this stage. A mode of noise propagation across the site would then focus on sound pressure levels at either near-by residences or sensitive areas, comparing the wind turbine noise to background noise and local noise ordinances. Based on these assessments, we may identify exclusion or critical areas for the micrositing model that will render the final optimized layout of the wind farm.
Through our network of collaborators we can take on other phases of the wind development such as: environmental assessments and permitting, interconnection studies, geotechnical and civil engineering, construction management to provide a full package to wind developers.
- Pre-build Due-Diligence and Operational Performance Assessment
It is common practice to have multiple consultants assess the resource and feasibility of a project. RRD Engineering employs the same techniques to review other consultants' analyses, critically addressing all the assumptions and study outcomes. We conducts vendor's technology review and audits to help clients make the most informed decisions on the acquisition of wind turbines in the procurement phase.
Once the wind farm is operational, the power output performance of an individual turbine, or of an entire wind park, is carried out by collecting SCADA data and executing additional wind measurements if needed. In this way, we can compare plant performance to its predictions; potentially identifying fatigue issues in turbine components, or addressing underproduction and control system recalibration needs.
At RRD Engineering, we stand behind wind projects all the way into operation.
RRD Engineering has extensive experience with light aeronautical structural design, as well as aerodynamic analysis and optimization.
In the past we have helped clients with airframe modifications (STCs) to house suites of airborne instrumentation; predicted fatigue stresses and strains of wing spar joints; performed conceptual designs of ultra-light aircraft; and executed forensic analyses of wind damaging loads on a number of structures.
Turbine blade design is among our specialties; we have studied several small wind turbine (1-25 kW) aerodynamic and mechanical design, and conducted testing towards their certification. The design involved obtaining optimal lift/drag distribution and the development of aerodynamically driven governors to maximize turbine output.
Other examples include the design and structural validation of a hybrid paramotor/paratrike RMG®, a titanium and aluminum alloy ultra-light.
Additionally, we worked with the FAA to evaluate potential hazard to navigation posed by planned structures along designated airways; prepared and filed FAA permitting for the construction of buildings and towers in proximity of airports.
Aerodynamics is our passion and we will dedicate our attention to the specific needs of our clients to meet their goals at every stage of the project.