Design and Analysis of a Small-Scale Wind Energy Conversion System

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Virginia Tech


This dissertation aims to present detailed analysis of the small scale wind energy conversion system (WECS) design and implementation. The dissertation will focus on implementing a hardware prototype to be used for testing different control strategies applied to small scale WECSs. Novel control algorithms will be proposed to the WECS and will be verified experimentally in details.

The wind turbine aerodynamics are presented and mathematical modeling is derived which is used then to build wind simulator using motor generator (MG) set. The motor is torque controlled based on the turbine mathematical model and the generator is controlled using the power electronic conversion circuits. The power converter consists of a three phase diode bridge followed by a boost converter. The small signal modeling for the motor, generator, and power converter are presented in details to help building the needed controllers.

The main objectives of the small scale WECS controller are discussed. This dissertation focuses on two main regions of wind turbine operation: the maximum power point tracking (MPPT) region operation and the stall region operation.

In this dissertation, the concept of MPPT is investigated, and a review of the most common MPPT algorithms is presented. The advantages and disadvantaged of each method will be clearly outlined. The practical implementation limitation will be also considered. Then, a MPPT algorithm for small scale wind energy conversion systems will be proposed to solve the common drawback of the conventional methods. The proposed algorithm uses the dc current as the perturbing variable and the dc link voltage is considered as a degree of freedom that will be utilized to enhance the performance of the proposed algorithm. The algorithm detects sudden wind speed changes indirectly through the dc link voltage slope. The voltage slope is also used to enhance the tracking speed of the algorithm and to prevent the generator from stalling under rapid wind speed slow down conditions. The proposed method uses two modes of operation: A perturb and observe (PandO) mode with adaptive step size under slow wind speed fluctuation conditions, and a prediction mode employed under fast wind speed change conditions. The dc link capacitor voltage slope reflects the acceleration information of the generator which is then used to predict the next step size and direction of the current command. The proposed algorithm shows enhanced stability and fast tracking capability under both high and low rate of change wind speed conditions and is verified using a 1.5-kW prototype hardware setup.

This dissertation deals also with the WECS control design under over power and over speed conditions. The main job of the controller is to maintain MPPT while the wind speed is below rated value and to limit the electrical power and mechanical speed to be within the system ratings when the wind speed is above the rated value.

The concept of stall region and stall control is introduced and a stability analysis for the overall system is derived and presented. Various stall region control techniques are investigated and a new stall controller is proposed and implemented. Two main stall control strategies are discussed in details and implemented: the constant power stall control and the constant speed stall control.

The WECS is expected to work optimally under different wind speed conditions. The system should be designed to handle both MPPT control and stall region control at the same time. Thus, the control transition between the two modes of operation is of vital interest. In this dissertation, the light will be shed on the control transition optimization and stabilization between different operating modes.

All controllers under different wind speed conditions and the transition controller are designed to be blind to the system parameters pre knowledge and all are mechanical sensorless, which highlight the advantage and cost effectiveness of the proposed control strategy. The proposed control method is experimentally validated using the WECS prototype developed.

Finally, the proposed control strategies in different regions of operation will be successfully applied to a battery charger application, where the constraints of the wind energy battery charger control system will be analyzed and a stable and robust control law will be proposed to deal with different operating scenarios.



Wind Energy, Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT), Stall Control, Permanent Magnet Generators, WECS