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Title: Analysis of Debris Trajectories at the Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) Facility

Sandia National Laboratories operates the Scaled Wind Farm Technology Facility (SWiFT) on behalf of the Department of Energy Wind and Water Power Technologies Office. An analysis was performed to evaluate the hazards associated with debris thrown from one of SWiFT’s operating wind turbines, assuming a catastrophic failure. A Monte Carlo analysis was conducted to assess the complex variable space associated with debris throw hazards that included wind speed, wind direction, azimuth and pitch angles of the blade, and percentage of the blade that was separated. In addition, a set of high fidelity explicit dynamic finite element simulations were performed to determine the threshold impact energy envelope for the turbine control building located on-site. Assuming that all of the layered, independent, passive and active engineered safety systems and administrative procedures failed (a 100% failure rate of the safety systems), the likelihood of the control building being struck was calculated to be less than 5/10,000 and ballistic simulations showed that the control building would not provide passive protection for the majority of impact scenarios. Although options exist to improve the ballistic resistance of the control building, the recommendation is not to pursue them because there is a low probability of strike andmore » there is an equal likelihood personnel could be located at similar distances in other areas of the SWiFT facility which are not passively protected, while the turbines are operating. A fenced exclusion area has been created around the turbines which restricts access to the boundary of the 1/100 strike probability. The overall recommendation is to neither relocate nor improve passive protection of the control building as the turbine safety systems have been improved to have no less than two independent, redundant, high quality engineered safety systems. Considering this, in combination with a control building strike probability of less than 5/10,000, the overall probability of turbine debris striking the control building is less than 1/1,000,000.« less
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  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Wind and Hydropower Technology Program (EE-2B)
Country of Publication:
United States