Aeolus

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Aeolus - A Wind Resource Assessment Tool
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Do you happen to know what is Wind Resource Assessment? It is the process by which wind power developers estimate the future energy production of a wind farm. The choice of a place to build a wind farm isn't random as one could think, it's a very elaborated decision that considers several factors as wind direction and speed, pressure, humidity and soon.


Facts

Wind energy is playing an important role in the energy generation market, in 2011 the installed capacity of wind power in Germany was 29,075 megawatts (MW), with wind power producing about 8 percent of Germany’s total electrical power. In 2010 wind energy production was over 2.5% of total worldwide electricity usage, and growing rapidly at more than 25% annually.

In this context, accurate wind resource assessment plays a critical role in developing successful wind farms. The goal of this project is to provide a tool to assist your wind resource assessment, enabling you to evaluate site feasibility and automate your analysis and report generation requirements.


Author

Marcio Menezes (marciomenezesjr@gmail.com/m-menezes@ti.com)

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Features

  • Electronic circuit featuring a 10 degrees of Freedom Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
  • Wind direction measured using eCompass with tilt compenssation
  • Wind speed measured using a new method based on accelerometer information (in progress...)
  • Digital pressure sensor (not assembled yet, delivery delayed...)
  • TI FRAM microcontroller MSP430FR5739, upgradable to Wolverine (XMS430FR5969) on the same PCB
  • Integrated sub-GHz wireless interface
  • MySQL Database to store the measurements and possibility to implement online queries and charts
  • Friendly Graphical User Interface
  • Low Power and battery powered (CR2032) solution
  • Tool to assist the green energy expansion
  • Compact Design
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Functional Description

The present realization of this project uses a magnetic field sensor in combination with an accelerometer to provide accurate wind direction for the system, the electronic circuit goes into a simple weather vane as shown in the figure on the right. In this project I have attempted to implement a new method to measure wind speed, this method is based on the turbulence generated by the wind when it hits a surface, this turbulence generates vibrations that could be correlated with the speed of the wind, the vibrations are measured by the embedded accelerometer and the MSP430 is responsible to estimate the wind speed.

WeatherVane

The two measured parameters are transmitted wirelessly to the base which is responsible to send the data to a database, on the present realization there is also a friendly GUI available to show the measured data on a PC running windows.

A diagram of the system is introduced on the figure below: Diagram

The graphical interface is responsible to present the data to the user, as well as insert it into a MySQL database, the idea behind the database is to have all the information from the field concentrated in one server, doing so we have a model that is similar to a wireless sensor network, the figure below introduces the network topology.

StarTopology

Another important fact to stress is that this project has been based on the Application Report SLAA518A, Nine-Axis Sensor Fusion Using the Direction Cosine Matrix Algorithm on the MSP430F5xx Family, so I have reused some code provided in this project as well as reused the sensor's calibration GUI and adapted the application GUI.

Unfortunately the wind speed calculation algorithm wasn't successful so far, MATLAB is being used to process the data and to create the algorithm, the firmware presented here doesn't do any wind speed calculation. Also the wind vane "designed" wasn't proper to generate proper vibration data so a new model was developed, on the new model the PCB is held by one rubber band in each corner of the board and has a stick in the center responsible to interact with the wind and generate the vibrations. The figures introduce the new prototype.

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Next Steps

  • Finish the wind speed measurement algorithm (so far it's only running on MATLAB with offline data and the algorithm still doesn't work)
  • Development of a GUI accessible through web browser, for online queries purpose
  • Upgrade the code to run on a Real Time Operating System (due to memory limitations the best solution would do it using the XMS430FR5969)
  • Enhance the wireless communication code, so far the implemented code only has the basic functionality to transmit a packet, data integrity is not being verified
  • Modify the communication model between the sensors, having a mesh topology instead of the star model used currently
  • The base station is currently running in a PC with Windows and Wi-Fi , the ideal solution would be to migrate to a single-board computer such as BeagleBone with 3G connection
  • There are still some issues with the Magnetometer calibration, a new calibration procedure is being developed to increase accuracy
  • Optimize the PCB (due to time limitations it isn't the best realization)

Pictures

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Source Code

The source code provided here is under work and is being often updated.
File:Aeolus Sensor Code.zip
File:Aeolus Receiver Code.zip
File:Application GUI.zip
File:Calibration GUI.zip


Schematics

File:Eagle Project.zip
File:Aeolus PCB rev0.pdf
File:Aeolus Schematic rev0.pdf

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