U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

NREL Upgrades Wind Turbine Test Capabilities

January 10, 2007

The Controls Advanced Research Turbine (CART) at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) received a facelift last month when an NWTC team replaced its two-bladed rotor with a new three-bladed rotor obtained from GE. The new 40-m rotor (trimmed down from 47 meters to fit the machine) will allow NREL researchers to test new control schemes applicable only to three-bladed machines. Control schemes are used to reduce wind turbine loads and increase energy capture. Although many of the schemes tested in the past at the NWTC are applicable to both two- and three-bladed machines, most of the turbines in commercial use today are three-bladed, so the CART upgrade will enable NREL to better meet industry research needs.

Replacing the rotor was a complex procedure requiring five operations, two cranes, and a great deal of preparation time by the NWTC team. All operations were completed smoothly and safely. Team members included Garth Johnson, Lee Fingersh, Scott Wilde, Jim Adams, Luke Adams, Dave Jager, and Jerry McCarty.