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Mechanical Sensorless Robust Control of Wind Turbine

Driven Permanent Magnet Synchronous Generator

For Maximum Power Operation

Kelvin Tan Syed Islam

Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy Ltd
Centre of Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies Australia (CRESTA)
Curtin University of Technology, WA

Abstract: This paper proposes a prototype version of the control strategy of a permanent magnet synchronous
generator for maximum power operation without mechanical sensors. This approach is based on the calculated
maximum rotor power vs. alternator frequency curve, and calculated maximum rotor power vs. rectified DC
voltage curve to obtain a maximum power output at a certain wind speed. This control allowed the permanent
magnet gener ator to operate at an optimal speed for a given wind speed. To show the feasibility of this
mechanical sensorless control strategy for maximum power estimation, a simple mathematical model of a
variable speed wind energy conversion system permanent magnet generator was developed. The mathematical
model was used to calculate the response of the wind energy conversion and to determine the maximum power
operating point. This paper also describes a theoretical aspect of this method. Digital simulation of the system
was performed to illustrate the advantages of this control strategy.


Optimum wind energy extraction is achieved by
running the wind turbine generator (WTG) in
variable-speed variable-frequency mode. The rotor
speed is allowed to vary in sympathy with the wind
speed, by maintaining the tip speed ratio to the
value that maximizes aerodynamic efficiency. In
order to achieve this, the permanent magnet
synchronous generator (PMSG) load line should be
matched very closely to the maxi mum power line
of the wind turbine generator. In such a case, a
good matching exists between the generator and the
load for the best performance of the system and
maximum utilization of the wind driven PMSG.
However, the recent advancements in power
electronics and control strategies have made it
possible to regulate the voltage of the PMSG in
many different ways. When the generator torque
line can be controlled; the generator loading of the
turbine can be made to follow the desired locus
such as the optimum shaft power locus. In the
existing controller for the maximum power
extraction, most designed controllers use an
anemometer to measure wind speed for deriving the
demand shaft speed [1]. In most cases, one
anemometer reading could not provide adequate
information. The required information would need
to be provided through a number of anemometers at
some distance away from and surrounding the wind
turbine. Sensors measurement of mechanical
quantities such as shaft torque and rotation speed
may be required. These sensors increase the cost
and reduce the reliability of the overall system. To
achieve optimal power output, a sensorless scheme
will be proposed for extracting desired output
power from the permanent magnet generator over a
wide range of wind speeds. The proposed system
will increase the overall output of the generation
system with a minimal increase in controller

Fig. 1 Wind Energy Conversion System

The proposed scheme consists of a PMSG driven
by a fixed pitch wind turbine, a diode rectifier and a
PWM feeding a local load as shown in Fig. 1. A
brief description of each element of the wind
energy conversion system is shown in this section.
These models are expressed in the d-q rotor
reference frame. This eliminates all time-varying
inductances by referring the stator and rotor
variables to a frame of references, which rotates
with rotor

2.1 Power from wind turbine

Fig. 2 Power Coefficient vs. Tip Speed Ratio
with =0

The output mechanical power of the wind turbine
may be calculated from the following equation[1] :


= (1)

is the power coefficient, which is a function of
tip speed ratio and blade angle . This
relationship is usually provided by the
manufacturer in the form of a set of non-
dimensional curves. The power coefficient curve C

for the wind turbine used in this study is shown in
Fig. 2. The tip speed ratio is given by:

= (2)

r = radius of the rotor [m]
= air density [Kgm
A = wind turbine rotor swept area [m
Uw = wind speed [m/s]
r = mechanical angular velocity of the

For a variable speed wind turbine with a pitch
control mechanism that alters the effective rotor
dynamic efficiency, optimum power can easily be
obtained using appropriate control. However, fixed
pitch wind turbine has been used in this prototype
wind energy conversion scheme (WECS).

2.2 Permanent magnet synchronous generator

Model for the power producing capabilities of a
wind turbine has been previously developed [2, 3].
The outer-rotor PMSG described in the paper[4] is
used in this WECS mathematical model. The
PMSG dynamic equations are expressed in the d-q
reference frame, which eliminate all time-varying
inductances by referring the stator and rotor
variables to a frame of references, which rotates
with the rotor. The model of electrical dynamics in
terms of voltages and current can be given as[3]:

m r
r q
L (R
v + + = (3)
L (R
v + + = (4)

R, L= Machine resistance and inductance per phase
, v
= 2-axis machine voltages
, i
= 2-axis machine currents

The above equations are derived assuming that the
q-axis is aligned with the stator terminal voltage
phasor (i.e.V
=0). The expression for the
electromagnetic torque in the rotor is written as:

( ) [ ]
q m d q q d e
i i i L L

= (5)

P = number of poles of the PMSG
Te = electrical torque from the generator
m =amplitude of the flux linkages established a
permanent magnet

The relationship between the angular frequency of
the stator voltage (r ) and the mechanical angular
velocity of the rotor (m) may be expressed as:

= (6)

The mathematical prediction of voltage variation
with the load current from the PMSG at six
different rotational speeds is calculated and shown
in Fig. 3. It seems that there is a good agreement
between the predicted and experimental results.[4]

0 2 0 4 0 6 0 80 100 120
Frequency (Hz)


Fig. 3 calculated voltage regulation
of the PMSG

2.3 Uncontrolled Rectifier

As the wind speed is constantly varying, the PMSG
produces variable-voltage and variable-frequency
output, which cannot be fed directly to load. A 3-
phase diode rectifier, which is used to convert the
variable magnitude, variable frequency voltage at
the PMSG terminal to dc. Under the assumption
that the both commutating angle & commutating
inductance are negligible, the rectifier output
voltages (VR) and current (IR) expression may be
simplified and expressed in term of the peak phase
voltage and current (fundamental component) of
the generator [5, 6]:

3 3
V = (7)
3 2
I = (8)

The dc power available at the rectifier output is
converted to ac power using a PWM inverter. The
output of the wind turbine generator is controlled
by adjusting the modulation index M of the
reference sinusoidal signal of the PWM inverter,
and it ranges from 0 to 1. In order to make the
inverter of the AC-DC-AC link to track the
maximum power output from the WTG, the
sensorless controller is designed to determine the
operating dc voltage of the inverter at various
speeds. This will control the pulse width of the
PWM inverter and the power transferred to the
local load indirectly by controlling the power
extracted from the WTG.


In the proposed sensorless scheme, the inverter
input operating voltage is determined by a
mapping-power technique. In this technique, the
controller does not require a mathematical model of
the system/process being controlled. However, it is
important to understand the voltage, current and
power characteristics generated by the system at
various constant wind speeds. Fig. 1 shows the
components of a typical stand-alone wind energy
conversion system. Wind energy conversion system
is simulated using Matlab Simulink to calculate the
generator stator frequency, dc current and voltage
at the dc link at various wind speeds.

The dc power output characteristics at the dc link
are then calculated following a step change in
different operating dc voltages. The results of the
calculations are for wind speed range 3-11m/sec.
The results are shown in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5. These
form the output power curves of the PMSG at
various constant wind speeds, the generator
maximum power curves show the different
operating dc voltages and stator frequencies over a
range of wind speeds. In order to extract the p eak
power from the WTG at a given wind speed, the
WECS has to operate at the target maximum power
curve. The operating dc voltage and stator
frequency have to match closely to the maximum
power curve, as shown in Fig. 4 (maximum power
vs. stator frequency) and Fig. 5 (maximum power
vs. dc voltage).

Fig. 4 Predicted characteristic
(dc power-stator frequency ) of the WECS

Fig. 5 Predicted characteristic
(dc power-dc voltage ) of the WECS
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
DC Voltage ( V)

By combining the characteristics of the PMSG
which determine, dc power output at different wind
speeds, operating limit of the WECS system could
be drawn in the power-frequency or power-Vdc
plane. Such system limitation is shown in Fig. 6.
Fig. 6 System limitation in the power
voltage plane

From Fig. 6, it is seen that the limitation on the left
is bounded by the minimum dc link voltage
required by the inverter. This line is due to the
voltage-current characteristic of the PMSG. At a
constant given wind speed, the PMSG is under
increasing load as the dc voltage decreases. When
the dc voltage is less then the minimum dc link
requirement, the operating of PMSG wind turbine
is in stalled region of operation. Any decrease in
the tip speed ratio will cause a further decrease until
the turbine stops. The upper limitation is bounded
by the rated wind speed (11m/s) and maximum
power capability of the PMSG. If the maximum
power limitation of the inverter is lower than the
maximum power capability of the PMSG. The
upper limitation is bounded by inverter power
limitation. The right limitation represents the
maximum speed of the wind turbine PMSG. The
system controller is constrained to operate within
the power limitations shown in Fig. 6. This is an
important consideration for the design of the
system controllers.


The block diagram shown in Fig. 7 is the
preliminary design of the sensorless WECS
controlled system. In the preliminary design stage,
the system does not include the minimum dc link
limitation, cut-in and cutout wind speed control
features. To show the feasibility of this mechanical
sensorless control strategy for maximum power
estimation, a simple mathematical model of the
proposed control system is developed. The control
system consists of two signal-tracking loops,
namely the power-mapping" loop and alternator
frequency derivative loop. The tracking signals
required for both loops are the output power from
the WECS that is transferred to the dc link and
PMSG stator frequency.

It is recognized that the inverter has the flexibility
to operate over a wide range of dc input voltages.
At a given wind speed, the output dc link power is
used to estimate the optimal dc operating voltage
from the "power-mapping" maximum power vs. dc
voltage curve shown in Fig. 5. Due to the
sensitivity of P
to the changes in V
for the
PMSG, the P
and V
will continue to increase or
decrease till the intersection of P
and V
at the
maximum power for the given wind speed. The
stator frequency will also be changing (increasing
or decreasing) during the change of the operating
dc voltage. In the alternator frequency derivative
loop, the derivative control action provides a means
of obtaining the controller with higher sensitivity.
This derivative control responds to the rate of
changes of the stator frequency and can produce a
significant correction to the operating dc voltage.
The gain value from frequency derivative loop will
become zero when the operating dc voltage is
optimal one which leads to the maximum power
point. Using the results determined by both loops,
the controller allows the dc bus voltage to vary to
the maximum power operating point.

Fig.7 Block diagram of the sensorless WECS
controlled system


A mathematical simulation model of the proposed
WECS is developed. The WECS has been
simulated on a PC using Matlab Simulink software

Fig. 8 Simulation results depicting variation of system variables with step changes in wind velocity

and its toolbox packages. With the simulation
results, we are able to study most of the system
characteristics such as its tracking performance and
its ability to recover from large disturbances. Two
case studies are considered and described as

5.1 Case 1: Step model of wind speed

The simulation result is shown in Fig. 8. The wind
speed is shown in the form of fast step variation
(from 5 to 11m/s). It seems that with increase in
wind speed, the sensorless controller increases the
operating dc voltage, which directly controls the
modulation index of the PWM inverter. This
increases the power output of the inverter and the
power transferred over the dc link. Also, the power
output of the rectifier drawn from the wind driven
PMSG increases, thereby ensuring the complete
utilization of available wind energy. As shown in
Fig. 8, the change in the peak power in the dc link
follows the wind speed profile. The peak power
shown in the Fig. 8(iii) is the actual maximum
power for each given wind speed. It is also observed
that the peaks in the error are recorded only in the
points of sudden change in the wind speed.

5.2 Case 2 : Random variation of wind speed

On achieving the goal of efficiently tracking the
maximum output power from the wind, the designed
controller should respond to the wide variation of
wind speed. The variation of wind profile is shown
in Fig. 9(i). In the case when the wind is fluctuating
with a non-uniform distribution, the output power
from the inverter will not be smooth. From Fig.
9(iv), it is clear that that the two profiles, operating
dc voltage and required operating voltage for
maximum power, are close to each other within
almost the whole wind variation. Therefore, the peak
power shown in Fig. 9(iii) is close to the actual
maximum power for each variation of wind speed.
On the other hand, comparing the error signal obtain
from operating dc voltage and required operating
voltage for maximum power, there is a high value of
error signal at starting of each sudden change of
wind speed. This is due to high gain in the alternator
frequency derivative loop and slow response of the
system. A more intelligent controller may be
required for higher tracking performance with fast
response and robust control.


The paper presents modeling and simulation result
of a prototype variable speed sensorless WECS. The
variable amplitude, variable frequency voltage at the
PMSG terminals is first rectified in a diode rectifier
and the dc power is transferred over the dc link to a
PWM inverter feeding to a local load. A sensorless
controller is used to determine the optimal operating
dc voltage which is then used to control the of
modulation index of the PWM inverter to utilize

Fig. 9 Simulation results depicting variation of system variables with random changes in wind velocity

completely the available wind energy. The proposed
control system consists of two loops, namely the
mapping-power" loop and differentiation of
alternator frequency loop. Using the results
determined by both loops, the controller allows the
dc bus voltage to vary to the maximum power
operating point. Two case studies are considered,
namely the (a) Step model of wind speed, and (b)
random variation of wind speed. Both have proved
the feasibility and maximum power tracking
capabilities of the designed sensorless controller.
But due to slow response of the prototype controller,
an alternative controller based on the fuzzy set
theory or PID controller will be proposed in a future


"The work described in this paper has been
supported by the Australian Cooperative Research
Centre for Renewable Energy Ltd (ACRE). ACRE's
activities are funded by the Australian
Commonwealth's Cooperative Research Centres
Program. Mr. Kelvin Tan has been supported by an
ACRE Postgraduate Research Scholarship. All
authors wish to thank CRESTA, School of Electrical
Engineering at Curtin University of Technology for
supporting the research work.


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