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Home > Emerging Wind Engineering and Energy Technologies at Multiple Scales: From Large Wind Turbines to Miniature Harvesters

Emerging Wind Engineering and Energy Technologies at Multiple Scales: From Large Wind Turbines to Miniature Harvesters

Lecturer: prof. Luca Caracoglia (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston MA, USA and Visiting Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Italy)

Timetable: 15 - 24 April 2024. More details on the timetable and the course can be found also in the attached description file. The lectures will be recorded and made available to registered students who cannot participate in presence/online due to time zones.

Week 1 (Room 1L)
Monday, April 15th, 2pm-6pm
Tuesday, April 16th, 10am-12pm
Tuesday, April 16th, 2pm-4pm

Week 2 (Room 1L)
Monday, April 22nd, 10am-12pm
Monday, April 22nd, and 2pm-4pm
Tuesday, April 23rd, 10am-12pm
Tuesday, April 23rd, 2pm-4pm
Wednesday, April 24th , 10am-12pm
Wednesday, April 24th , 2pm-4pm (tutorial)

Programme: the course will be offered in a hybrid format. In-person lectures will be offered to PhD students at the University of Trento, Mesiano Campus. Synchronous, on-line video-streaming lectures will also be available to other students.

Description: This course introduces students to emerging wind engineering and wind energy technologies that pose several engineering design challenges. The course will describe relevant application examples: from large, offshore wind energy systems to mesoscale wind energy devices and miniature harvesters (for sensor design). The course will emphasize the importance of structural and dynamic design and demonstrate, thorough examples, the similarities that exist among the various

In the first part of the course, lectures will briefly review wind fields, turbulence and aerodynamic loads in wind engineering due to stationary synoptic wind hazards (e.g., hurricanes). Dynamic analysis methods (frequency domain approach, spectral analysis, etc.) under stationary random wind loads will be employed to analyze linear structures.

In the second part, the student will learn the fundamentals of horizontal-axis wind – turbine (HAWT) towers. Current trends are devoted to large offshore systems, with rotors of diameters equal to 200m or more, capable of producing energy up to 15 Megawatts or more. The lectures will integrate aerodynamics and wind turbine design with the structures needed to support them. Topics will include classification of wind turbines and their components, blade aerodynamics (e.g., concepts of angle of attack, lift, drag, pitching moment) as it relates to atmospheric boundary layer flows, structural engineering aspects and vibration problems, aeroelastic instability (flutter) in wind turbine blades. Performance aspects such as
estimation of output power will be reviewed.

In the third part, principles of energy harvesting technologies will be presented. Energy harvesting exploits ambient energy sources, primarily wind-based but also other structural vibrations, and studies technological solutions for recovery into electrical energy. Devices are similar to HAWT, but they operate at a much smaller, miniature scale (milli-watts, mainly for sensor applications). The lectures will review basic operating principles of these kinetic miniature generators, i.e., spring-mass systems where electrical power is extracted by employing electric (coupling) mechanisms and stored in a battery.

Finally, the course will discuss new emerging trends such as the engineering design of “meso-scale” devices that could potentially supplement energy at the level of one or two housing units, i.e., to supplement electricity in the case of loss of power from the grid. The nonlinear, “benign” aeroelastic vibrations are harnessed in a mechanical apparatus and subsequently used to produce electric energy. Challenges of these novel devices (scalability, battery storage, etc.) will be discussed.
Lectures will examine both fundamentals and engineering applications. A hands-on tutorial will also be mdelivered at the end of the course.  Lectures will be in English.

Duration: 18 + 2 hours (2,5 credits)

Registration: in order to access the course, please send an e-mail to dicamphd [at]

application/pdfCourse Syllabus(PDF | 366 KB)