ūüéČWe can now proudly present the winners of the TAPAS Community Challenge 2018! ūüéČ
Congratulations to Team "Wireless Charging" (idea 56). We are really excited for all finalists and a really big thank you to all participants for your interest in this challenge!

We got over 200 submissions! 65 ideas got one or more TAPAS boards, 10 submissions were presentation-ready.
And now we have 5 finalists! YEAH ūüėÉ The finalist's idea numbers were 40, 56, 68, 212 and 213.
What's next?
We are now preparing the next steps for you, the community. Please stay tuned!
We are working on a forum and a separate webpage. If you have any question please don't hesitate to contact us via email!

Digital twin for optimisation of wind farm array power output

Wind turbines fight. Did you know that? In wind farms - like large offshore arrays - turbines compete for power, with more kinetic energy being extracted from the air by the upstream turbines than by downstream ones. The turbines are coupled by their aerodynamics, as well as being coupled by their power electronics network.

There are three upshots of this:
- Large amounts of power conditioning are required, to overcome highly nonlinear interaction effects.
- Turbine control systems are run conservatively, working on their own to provide target outputs, instead of together as a larger network. This limits production.

To address this, work is progressing on modular "Digital Twins" - where pieces of hardware - like inverters - are replicated in a real-time simulation of an asset. A digital twin of an array can comprise an assembly of sub twins, each with its own AI and/or simulation code. Twins can be used as a tool to train AIs in how to control plant.

The goal of the project (which is ongoing) is to train an AI to optimise the control state of each turbine for net benefit as a whole array (longer lifetime, increased production, etc).

We are:

  • building a small, but real, wind farm (model scale) to provide proof-of-concept for how array control works. It'll consist of 6 3D-printed¬†turbines with their own controllers; and it'll be about the size of a dining tabletop.
  • building a digital twin of the same, then use the digital twin to optimise the controller with a conventional inverter and power network

This should give insight into how an AI can be used to manage nonlinear aerodynamic interactions between turbines and how to increase the production.

But, that does nothing about the power network interactions. It would be super cool to:

  • add one or more inverters to the physical farm as part of the demonstration
  • build a digital twin of the inverter (dead easy for an SDI, just enter the target waveform!)

The goal of adding an SDI would be to work toward a proof-of-concept for use of SDIs in wind farm applications - by removing the network coupling effect between the turbines, an AI farm controller of the type we're working on would have much greater scope to improve overall array production.


Progress with the design of the model wind turbines (with blade pitch mechanism for control) is well under way and prototypes have been printed. Generators (tiny ones!) have been selected. Images are attached showing the main driveshaft and blade pitch assemblies.

The general arrangement will be based on the NREL 5MW wind turbine. We'll be using a ducting system to ensure that we get some aerodynamic coupling between model turbines... at this really small scale it won't be identical aerodynamics but it will at least represent an interaction.

We get that TAPAS boards are overkill for this project in terms of the power they can handle (!!) - but they could provide a perfect platform for representing the power conditioning electronics.


Tom Clark and Wolfgang Schmied.

Tom is the Cofounder of Octue.com, a platform for building digital twins of engineering assets (this project is not affiliated with Octue, although uses some of the industry knowledge and experience that Tom has gleaned over 10 years in the wind industry)

Wolfgang is a bioscientist and 3d printing enthusiast, a previous winner of the bio-maker challenge, with "A low-cost, pressurized liquid chromatography system for protein purification".

Number of boards

Is it too much to ask for 6? That's one for each turbine? We could still use one to invert the output of the whole farm (simple demo) but if we had 6 we couldl attempt to show how they can be used to eliminate the nonlinear fighting between the turbines.

  • Tom Clark
  • May 27 2018
  • May 30, 2018

    Admin Response

    this idea gets sixTAPAS dev kits

  • Susanne Forster commented
    May 29, 2018 14:00

    Hey Tom, 

    thanks for your submission. Great idea!
    We want to provide you 6 TAPAS boards.
    One of my colleagues will message you shortly.

    Susanne @ TAPAS team

  • Admin
    Nora Schille (TAPAS team) commented
    June 04, 2018 10:52

    Hi Tom, 

    this is a friendly reminder to redeem your voucher codes :-)
    As you know the submission deadline for the presentation is about to end on 24th of June. We want to send you and your colleague the boards as soon as possible.

    Nora @ TAPAS team

  • Admin
    Nora Schille (TAPAS team) commented
    June 04, 2018 14:20

    Hi Tom,

    something else...
    Here is just a friendly reminder that submission deadline for your presentation is on 24th of June. :-) We are really excited to see your progress! 
    Please post the progress within your idea board submission.

    PS: We want to do a community call with you! Please use our doodle to find a date which fits best for you. :-)

    Nora @ TAPAS Team

  • Jacqueline Hofmann commented
    June 20, 2018 12:52

    Hi Tom,

    Don't forget that the submission deadline for your presentation is on 24th of June! We are already curious to see the results of your project :-) Keep in mind that you still have time to work on the implementation of your idea after the submission!

    Please post your project visualization and all related documents within your idea board entry :-)


    Jacqueline @ TAPAS Team

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