Wind turbines involve many technical aspects: rotor blades, gearboxes, generators, control systems, etc. These are based on many physical disciplines, such as dynamics, statics, aerodynamics and electricity. Anyone who wants to apply their scientific or engineering skills to wind turbines should have an overview of the technology with which they interact. This course provides such an overview and helps you understand how the various components of a wind energy system act together.
This course gives students an overview of the multidisciplinary aspects of wind turbines without too much detailed study of the literature of all these aspects. It will explain the relevant technologies at a similarly accessible level.
Different aspect of wind energy
What you need to bring is some basic understanding of engineering sciences and we will get you up to speed with the relevance and application to wind turbine physics and technology. Each week a different aspect of wind energy is highlighted with online lectures, readings and animations. Quizzes are used to test your progress and weekly exercises help you master the subject. You can discuss the topics with fellow learners in the discussion forum where you can help each other. The lecturers will also assist in answering questions. At the end of the course, you can demonstrate what you have learned in a proctored written exam.
Specialist technical knowledge
Do you study or specialize in a technical domain and want to apply this knowledge to wind turbines? By taking this course you will kick-start your career in wind energy. With the balanced overview of wind turbine technology offered in this course, you will be able to put your specialist technical knowledge to practical use and make yourself a valuable partner for the wind energy industry.
What you'll learn
By the end of this course you will be able to understand what a turbine is and how it interacts with the environment: what it is like, why it is like that and how to calculate values for its characteristic properties.
Specifically, you will be able to:
- describe the components and configurations of wind turbines
- describe the characteristics of wind, use models that quantify wind speed variations and estimate the energy yield of a wind turbine
- describe the aerodynamic processes at work in wind energy conversion, calculate the forces and power generated and produce a simple rotor design
- explain the working principles of drive train components and determine the operational conditions that affect power, torque, pitch angle etc.
- identify the drivers of dynamic behaviour and calculate their typical values
- describe the principles of structural analysis of wind turbines and carry out preliminary predictions of structural failure
- describe the effect of wind turbines on downstream conditions and quantify wind speed and turbulence in wakes
Week 0: Getting started
Introduction to the learning environment, to the teachers and to your fellow learners.
Week 1: Wind turbine technology
A brief history of wind turbines for electricity production and an overview of the configurations and components of modern wind turbines.
Week 2: Wind climate and energy yield
The mechanisms that create wind, the variation of wind over time and in space, the characterisation of wind speed at a certain site and the estimation of the electricity production of a wind turbine at that site.
Week 3: Rotor aerodynamics
The governing equations of wind energy extraction by an arbitrary device, flow and forces for a rotor, calculation of the performance of a rotor and of a simple rotor design
Week 4: Drive train and control
The characteristics of the main drive train components, torque and rotational speed in the drive train, control of maximum power in low wind speeds and constant power in high wind speeds.
Week 5: Dynamics of a wind turbine
The principles of dynamics, dynamic properties of wind turbines, and the analysis of variable loading and response of wind turbines.
Week 6: Structural analysis
The principles of failures of wind turbines structures, prediction of failure for extreme loading conditions, estimation of fatigue damage and assessment of blade tip deflections.
Week 7: Wake effects
A description of the wind conditions in the wakes of wind turbines and the calculation of wind speeds and turbulence behind wind turbines in a wind farm.
Assignment(s) and Assessment
At the end of the course your knowledge and skills will be tested with a proctored exam. The exam will consist of multiple choice questions and open questions.
Throughout the course, exercises are provided to help you master the subjects of each week. After each topic you can test your basic knowledge through quiz questions. To improve your understanding and application of the theory, exercises are provided that resemble questions that you can expect in the final exam. Each week a larger assignment is given that integrates various aspects of the week. These assignments help you to see the bigger picture. Tips and answers are provided when needed. These weekly assignments don't count toward the final grade, which is only based on the exam.
Literature & Study Materials
All study material for this course will be made available through the online learning platform.
If you successfully complete your online course you will be awarded with a TU Delft certificate.
This certificate will state that you were registered as a non-degree-seeking student at TU Delft and successfully completed the course.
If you decide that you would like to apply to the full Bachelor's program in Aerospace Engineering, you will need to go through the admission process as a regular BSc student. If you are admitted, you can then request an exemption for this course that you completed as a non-degree-seeking student. The Board of Examiners will evaluate your request and will decide whether or not you are exempted.
General admission to this course
Required prior knowledge
The first two years of a relevant BEng or BSc in engineering; students are expected to have mastered the fundamental concepts of a related engineering or science discipline. This includes satisfactory command of the fundamentals of calculus and physics needed at the BSc or BEng level.
Participants are also expected to have background knowledge on mechanics (Newton's laws of motion), statics (forces, stresses and displacements in structures), dynamics (mass-spring-damper system) and electricity and magnetism (e.g.. Lorentz force). Knowledge of aerodynamics (lift and drag of aerofoils) is useful but not mandatory. With proper interest and motivation, participants that lack background in one of these fields can catch up with through self-study.
Expected Level of English
English is the language of instruction for this online course. If your working language is not English or you have not participated in an educational program in English in the past, please ensure that your level of proficiency is sufficient to follow the course. TU Delft recommends an English level equivalent to one of the following certificates (given as an indication only; the actual certificates are not required for the admission process):
- TOEFL score 90+ (this is an internet-based test)
- IELTS (academic version) overall Band score of at least 6.5
- University of Cambridge: "Certificate of Proficiency in English" or "Certificate in Advanced English"
In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to upload the following documents:
- a CV which describes your educational and professional background (in English)
- a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)
- a copy of relevant transcripts and diplomas
If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please visit our Help & Support page.