Fragility Analysis of a 5-MW NREL Wind Turbine Considering Aero-Elastic and Seismic Interaction Using Finite Element Method


With the improvements and advances made in the field of renewable energy, this alternative method has become competitive with more traditional sources of energy generation techniques, including hydro power or fossil fuels. This has led to construction of wind turbines in areas prone to seismic activity. To increase the power production from wind energy, wind turbines have increased in size and mass, which makes them more vulnerable to lateral loads such as seismic induced forces, wind loads, and in the case of offshore wind turbines, wave loads. For this reason, computational analysis in the field are recently focusing on considering the interaction between lateral loads to present more realistic and cost effective designs. In this paper, the nonlinear dynamic behavior of a 5-MW NREL wind turbine is evaluated considering different earthquake and wind intensities using a newly developed finite element model. The model is first calibrated and verified with simplified models using modal and static pushover analysis. Engineering demand parameters (EDP) and intensity measures (IM) are then obtained from nonlinear incremental dynamic analysis (IDA) and used to assess the probability of exceeding different damage states (DS) using fragility curves. From the findings in this research, it is shown that earthquake loads have considerable effects on the design and analysis of wind turbines.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that provided the grant with Contract no. DE-AC36-08GO28308, and the help of Dr. Jason Jonkman and Dr. Ian Prowell, as the technical monitors for developing seismic module for FAST. This code was developed by the authors in the first stages of the work and was used here for verification purposes.

Keywords and Phrases

Aerodynamics; Cost effectiveness; Dynamic analysis; Earthquakes; Fossil fuels; Geophysics; Loads (forces); Offshore wind turbines; Seismology; Wind power; Wind turbines; Damage state (DS); Engineering demand parameters (EDP); Fragility analysis; Incremental dynamic analysis (IDA); Intensity measure(IM); Finite element method; Aerodynamic-seismic interaction; Finite element analysis; Wind turbine

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Article - Journal

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© 2016 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2016