A lack of trained wind energy professionals exist qualified to develop and maintain the increasing number of wind turbines across the country. Further, effective training of new technicians is obstructed by a disconnect between theoretical learning in the classroom and practice in the real world. Finally, access to “hands-on” training with actual wind turbine equipment is limited by both cost constraints and safety considerations.
Figure 1. Visual output off running turbine simulator.
As part of the development of Mixed Reality Simulators for Wind Energy Education funded by the U.S. Department of Education, a virtual wind turbine engine simulation system was implemented. The system is composed of four primary parts: the physics engine, the control system, the visualization system, and the remote management interface. The simulation system emphasizes realistic behavior, and is designed to emulate common modes of wind turbine failure, which a trainee will then diagnose by interacting with and observing the simulation.
Figure 2. Simulated control client authentication.
Figure 3. Simulated control client sensor display.
The wind turbine simulation system as developed includes a physics-based core turbine simulator, a visualization component written for OpenGL, a virtual bus-based control system, and a remote client interface written in Adobe ActionScript3. Additionally, a modular development model allows for extensibility of the system.
The simulator is targeted for use in a wind technician training course in the near future.