Flow Control Over a Wind Turbine Blade Using a Traveling Wave DBD Plasma
A traveling wave plasma actuator is being developed to control the circulation of air around wind turbine blades. Such control is electrostatically based and has the potential to be much lighter and more responsive than mechanical actuation approaches, making them well-suited for the large rotating blades of wind turbines. Wind turbines can use the technology for increased lift and decreased drag (higher power generation), as well as by decreasing lift when wind speeds become too fast for safe operation. This is normally done by pitching the blades or furling the entire assembly, requiring heavy mechanical actuation that is not responsive to wind gusts. In addition to increasing wind turbine efficiency and protecting them during high-speed gusts, plasma actuators may also reduce structural loading and wake turbulence, resulting in longer periods between service, longer operational lifetimes and possibly a higher allowable density of turbines in a given geographic area.