Where’s the wind?

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 20 September 2011



(2011), "Where’s the wind?", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 60 No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2011.07960gaa.004



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Where’s the wind?

Article Type: News From: International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Volume 60, Issue 7

Evolution is providing the inspiration for University of Adelaide computer science research to find the best placement of turbines to increase wind farm productivity.

Senior Lecturer Dr Frank Neumann, from the School of Computer Science, is using a “selection of the fittest” step-by-step approach called “evolutionary algorithms” to optimise wind turbine placement. This takes into account wake effects, the minimum amount of land needed, wind factors and the complex aerodynamics of wind turbines.

“Renewable energy is playing an increasing role in the supply of energy worldwide and will help mitigate climate change”, says Dr Neumann. “To further increase the productivity of wind farms, we need to exploit methods that help to optimise their performance“.

Dr Neumann says the question of exactly where wind turbines should be placed to gain maximum efficiency is highly complex. “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”.

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