NFPA Research Supplement Update: Improving the Efficiency of a Hydraulic Drivetrain Wind Turbine

CCEFP Summit

Eric Lanke headshot 2017


By Eric Lanke
NFPA President/CEO

I recently attended the October 2018 Summit of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) at the University of Minnesota. This is one of the meetings this fiscal year where the fluid power research projects supported by our new NFPA Research Supplement Program were presented.

In our efforts to increase the number of university students educated in fluid power, the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation has provided ten $10,000 research supplements to ten academic faculty members working on fluid power research at six universities. This helps to engage current and build the careers of future university faculty who are and will be in a position to teach fluid power to undergraduate engineers on their campuses. The research supplements provide travel support so that each faculty member and one of their graduate students can attend to present their research at designated industry conferences and research summits like the one hosted by the CCEFP.

One such faculty member is Professor Kim Stelson of the University of Minnesota, whose graduate student, Biswaranjan Mohanty, presented on their project, “Understanding the Transient Nature of Wind Turbine Response to Create Advanced Controls to Improve the Efficiency of a Hydraulic Drivetrain Wind Turbine,” at the CCEFP Summit. The goal here is well described by the project title: using advanced controls to improve the efficiency of hydraulic drivetrain wind turbines. Working with funding provided by the National Science Foundation, Mohanty and his team have been able to:

  • Build a unique power regenerative test platform to demonstrate and validate the performance of the hydrostatic transmission.
  • Develop a high fidelity dynamic model that closely matches the experiment data.
  • Begin wind tunnel studies to develop a model of combined unsteady wind and pitch.

A copy of Mohanty’s presentation slides can be accessed here.

Collectively, the research projects supported by NFPA Research Supplements represent more than $4.9 million in funding from a variety of organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP). They are an excellent sample of the growing body of fluid power research being funded by the federal government and other research organizations.