At Power Curve, we take great pride in being able to offer optimal vortex generator designs on a case-by-case basis for customer-specific turbine blades.

Power Curve solutions draw on the latest scientific advances in aerodynamics. Therefore, our approach to designing new solutions needs to be very meticulous.

This page provides a degree of transparency for our clients into our design process.

The full process can be divided into five stages, from the initial evaluation of client turbines and blades to full site rollout:

  1. Technical assessment and proposal
  2. WTG-specific vortex generator design
  3. Trial installation
  4. Test and business case validation
  5. Site rollout

The rundown below describes how we go about designing a full turnkey solution.

1. Technical assessment and proposal

Power Curve Active during this step
Client Active during this step
Installation Partner Inactive during this step

The first step in our design process is to assess the client’s wind turbines and wind farm site. This includes determining the type, size and recent performance of the turbines, in terms of both AEP and blade characteristics. As for the site, we assess the local climate and seasonal wind conditions.

Graph: Optimal Power Curve

Graph: Declining Power Curve

Based on our assessment of the collected data, we recommend a Power Curve solution, including scope, timing and estimated AEP gain.

2. WTG-Specific Vortex Generator Design

Power Curve Active during this step
Client Inactive during this step
Installation Partner Inactive during this step

Upon agreement of contract, we begin defining an upgrade design specific to the client’s turbines.

If we do not have access to blade shape information, we 3D measure the airfoil shapes and compute the aerodynamic characteristics of the 2D airfoils. We then use the 2D models to simulate Leading Edge Roughness (LER) and vortex generators in our unique Power Curve Data Analyzer software, making 3D corrections to the data.

Graph: Angle of attack and drag/lift coefficient

Graph: Airfoil shapes

Graph: AEP Change

Finally, we compute power curves for the turbines based on three configurations; clean blades, blades with LER and blades with both LER and VGs installed. With these computed power curves, we can estimate the expected increase in the client’s AEP and investigate which VG configurations, in terms of size and positioning on the blade, will yield the best results.

3. Trial installation

Power Curve Active during this step
Client Active during this step
Installation Partner Active during this step

The next step is to select test and reference turbines on-site in collaboration with the client.

In order to establish a representative sample, the trial needs to take into account differences between individual turbines with respect to wind patterns across the site, levels of LER and service histories. In practice, we identify areas, or ‘microsites’, within the wind farm with representative wind patterns as well as turbines within these microsites that have representative levels of LER and maintenance histories.

Overhead view of a windfarm

Example of test and reference turbine selection

Turbines are thus selected for testing in pairs; one for test installation and one as reference turbine. The more turbines, the more reliable results we get, but a set of 4-6 pairs is usually sufficient. Before installing any VGs, we collect historical SCADA data for later benchmark analysis.

The weather plays a central role at this stage, as our adhesive cures at temperatures above 5°C. As soon as the climate allows, and our installation partner approves of the conditions, the Power Curve VGs are installed on the test turbines.

4. Test & business case validation

Power Curve Active during this step
Client Active during this step
Installation Partner Inactive during this step

To investigate the impact on performance provided by our VGs, we continue our collection of time-synchronized SCADA data post-installation.

We then compare the pre- and post-installation measurements to arrive at the relative improvement of the power-upgraded turbines. Weighting these results with the site-specific Weibull distribution, we can predict the expected change in AEP for the full population of turbines on-site.

Finally, the client is able to review their business case based both on our predicted AEP improvement, the resulting increase in revenues and the investment in the Power Curve solution.

5. Site rollout

Power Curve Active during this step
Client Active during this step
Installation Partner Active during this step

If the client chooses to roll out Power Curve vortex generators on more turbines based on the trial results, our installation partner performs the necessary installations.

Site Rollout Aerial Truck

Site Rollout Installation

The installation can be done by rope access, aerial truck or in some cases with a suspended platform. Learn more about our installation methods.