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Tidal turbine rotor blade design using Nexus

Tidal turbine rotor blade design using Nexus

Nexus has been selected by Digital Engineering to optimize the design process of the next generation of tidal turbine rotor blades

iChrome, a leading provider of engineering services and optimization solutions, announced today that Digital Engineering have selected Nexus, as their design optimization and process integration solution of choice.
Nexus, provides the latest standard in advanced numerical optimization, through a flexible and reliable framework to integrate design processes, as well as organizing, managing and solving complex design tasks. Mauro Arruda, Director at Digital Engineering explains “the Nexus integration suite is used to automate a workflow comprising of manufacturing, structural, control system and hydrodynamic modules. Nexus optimization is then used to perform optimization loops using the various available schemes.”. Mauro adds “some of the final designs have subsequently been built and successfully tested in a wind tunnel. Finally, this process will allow us to review designs in the future with a minimal time and cost impact.” iChrome’s Nexus is increasingly being chosen by different industries to provide process integration and optimization solutions without the high costs associated with other established commercial products.

About Digital Engineering Ltd
Digital Engineering are a leading provider of engineering and environmental information to projects of all sizes. The company a wide range of services to the renewable energy and built environment markets. Digital Engineering was formed in 2010 by a team of experienced engineers from the aerospace and defence industry. Since then the team has grown to include experts in meteorology, geographical information systems, renewable energy generation and geo-physical sciences.

The case study is an example of how Nexus can improve the performance of a tidal turbine blade. It shows the optimisation of a single airfoil that is one of 10 sections that make up an entire blade. This is one optimisation of many that make up part of the tidal turbine design process.

The example section used in this case study in its correct position along the tidal turbine blade.

The example section used in this case study in its correct position along the tidal turbine blade.

Nexus has been used to alter the shape of the airfoil to improve the performance, at the same time meeting various design constraints and targets. Different optimisation routines can be combined to speed up the optimisation process. The results from a genetic algorithm routine were fed as inputs into the following gradient optimisation routine.

The section before and after running an optimisation routine in Nexus

The section before and after running an optimisation routine in Nexus

As a result of just one optimisation sweep for the single section, the performance of the blade as a whole increased by 2%.
Once the Nexus model was set up, the optimisation sweep took approximately 1 hour. The same sweep, if done manually by an engineer would have taken as long as a week. Nexus allowed significant performance increases over a short amount of time, while meeting multiple design constraints. For the blade as a whole Nexus will save months of engineering time.