Building wind turbines surely is a challenging task for the engineers in charge with it. A recent study, followed by the development of a software could clear out all the issues of wind turbine placement, so they don’t interfere with each other and still occupy as little space as possible. The new approach is based on evolutionary algorithms developed by Dr. Frank Neumann, from the University of Adelaide.
“An evolutionary algorithm is a mathematical process where potential solutions keep being improved a step at a time until the optimum is reached,” he says. “You can think of it like parents producing a number of offspring, each with differing characteristics,” he says. “As with evolution, each population or `set of solutions’ from a new generation should get better. These solutions can be evaluated in parallel to speed up the computation.”
While some of these explanations could seem unclear to people unacquainted with programming techniques, they had been applied in nature even before we as humans knew of our existence, since they’re the natural way to go.
Dr. Neumann, who had originally worked at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and his colleagues are actually doing a “selection of the fittest” and get inspired by ant colonies, who use these natural principles for finding the shortest way to a food source from their nest.
“Current approaches to solving this placement optimisation can only deal with a small number of turbines,” he says. “We have demonstrated an accurate and efficient algorithm for as many as 1000 turbines.” By using data collected from different models of wake effects and other aerodynamic factors, Neumann is seeking a final shape of the algorithm to actually have it tested in real life situations.