GoldFarm: “The Matrix” of the Wind Power Industry

As digitalization in industry and manufacturing areas continues to gain momentum, it promotes industrial upgrading and transforms industrial landscapes, providing an “edge weapon” for wind power development.

The understanding of digitalization varies when viewed from different perspectives. Different industries focus on diverse values to be provided by digitalization progress. Mr. Wu Gang, Chairman of Goldwind, once said that “by leveraging innovations driven by digitalization we are able to integrate originally separated and independent dots and establish a comprehensive system, supported by systematic models, which will control occurrence, development, and changes.”

This remark reflects Goldwind’s understanding of digitalization in the wind power industry. Wind farm investment features long-term financing and large amounts of investment. How to minimize investment costs is critical for investment and also an important factor of risk assessment. Traditional analytical methods adopted by venture investments use combined information such as wind data acquired at early stages, topographic maps, and land profiles to control risks and evaluate return before construction. However, the software used in China and the world to evaluate wind resources have obvious flaws: distortion in complex terrain images, oversimplified fluid models, inaccurate calculation of turbine wakes and algorithm barriers, etc. Due to these flaws, China’s wind farms have seen inaccurate results of wind resource evaluation in complex terrains, including insufficient estimation of turbine wakes influences in subdued areas and power generating capacity. More than that, with respect to economic evaluation, traditional evaluation tools find it difficult to keep up with market changes and profit assessment is unreliable. Targeting these prominent problems, Goldwind’s wind resource team turned back to fundamental theories and in-depth understandings of application scenarios, and conducted comprehensive innovative research and development work.

In 2017, Goldwind wind resource center successfully developed GoldFarm, a platform aiming to provide comprehensive solutions for early stage investment of wind farms. GoldFarm dynamically integrated the planning, design and rate of return to overall optimize early stage investment and help users to get the best solution for the highest profit.

↑Optimized Brake Disc Wakes Model

Decrypt the code

Since 2014, from the interference temperature of meteorology to Navier-Stokes equation algorithm modification of hydromechanics, Goldwind conducted in-depth research on precise wind profile, unstructured grid, heat stability and three-dimensional forest model. In 2016, Goldwind experimented with meteorological environment coupling fluid technology and developed GoldFOAM, an intellectual property protected solver using precise emulation technology. In 2017, Goldwind joined hands with a number of experts from distinguished universities at home and abroad to develop the intellectual property protected GoldLES, a large eddy simulation solver combined artificial intelligence algorithms, which is adopted to conduct precise simulation of wind resources and turbine wakes and advise wind farm layout and unit selection.

At the same time, drawing from the big data methods, Goldwind uses petabyte terrain data gathered from thousands of existing wind farms and anemometer towers, as well as petabyte meso scale meteorological data, to develop its digital products. By utilizing these data and through practical trainings, Goldwind has trained the GoldFarm platform to be sensitive to various terrain sites, providing more accurate fluid models for complex terrains.

On the basis of these iterations, Goldwind has also been focusing on integration and application of proven technologies. GoldFarm has integrated UAVs, GIS technology and WRF+CFD coupling technology to rapidly generate three-dimensional geographic information and data, identify high-precision simulation computing data, rapidly generate road design plans, identify risk points, automatically optimize layouts, reduce working period, lower costs, optimize return solutions and significantly elevate the economic value of the project.

Since being released at China Wind Power 2017 (CWP2017), GoldFarm has delivered more than 20 digitalized wind farm planning and design works for clients including State Power Investment Corporation, China Huaneng Group, Beijing Enterprises Group Company Limited, and China Datang Corporation. The deliveries were highly praised by clients and design institutes.

VR - Virtual Reality

With respect to digitalization experience, the wind farms are built upon more realistic digital technologies, thus the clients can demonstrate their products and technologies to governmental organizations and stakeholders from other industries. To meet these extremely high standards, Goldwind uses the world’s most advanced industrial grade UAVs with high resolution cameras to capture images of the wind farm. At the same time, it uses a three-dimensional modeling algorithm to generate ultra-high definition physical three-dimensional models. Then it presents the realistic scene of the wind farm with VR and AR technologies. Digital technologies are able to present perfect experience that is different from two-dimensional maps. Take a project in Southern China as an example, during the development phase, the platform used high precision geographic information and data to help the client report to the government about this digitalized and technological wind farm. “Seeing is believing.” It demonstrated the dynamic changes of roads and simulated the operational status of wind turbines. With realistic simulation of the completed wind farm, it helped clients to apply for review, gain approval, and speed up decision making.

With respect to environmental friendliness, GoldFarm uses digital methods to provide the best environmentally friendly solutions and helps clients to construct the best environmentally friendly project. In a project in Southern China, the client is required to gain approval from the government for developing a forest area. The government has extremely high requirements for environmental impact precision. During the design phase, GoldFarm simulated and optimized the number of trees needed to be cut down and the roads to be dug and filled. At the same time, it managed to avoid impacting precious tree species. The final solution was, on the basis of ensuring return for the client, more environmentally friendly and helped clients to meet environmental protection requirements and establish a good image.

When it comes to unit selection, GoldFarm’s advantage lies in its ability to deliver high precision simulation of complex terrain, custom made wind farm design, and comparison of multiple plans. At the early stage of a project in Hunan, we were facing a situation with no topographic map, no outstanding wind resources, and a rather non-optimistic rate of return. The initial investment decision failed to meet the goal and the whole project was about to be given up. GoldWind efficiently sent out UAVs to survey the area and carried out unit selection and costs optimization, finally delivering the rate of return required by the client. We increased power generation by 2.3%, lowered project costs by 2%, and ensured the project volume and avoided unnecessary risk points. The whole work for early stage of the wind farm was realized by digital technologies. It took only 20 days to finish planning and designing, significantly raising work efficiency.

In terms of precise engineering design plans, GoldFarm aims to lower engineering costs, provide optimized road design, the shortest route design and optimize engineering costs. In a project covering an area of more than 200 square kilometers in Qinghai, the client urgently required optimized engineering costs. GoldFarm integrated its engineering design experience accumulated throughout the years, 250px precise topographic maps which served as fundamental data, high precision survey data acquired by UAVs, independently developed precise CFD algorithm GIS, and big data technology. GoldFarm precisely avoided risk regions and optimized plans and automatically designed several route plans and delivered the optimized plan. It shortened the construction period by 50% to 80% and costs by about 20%, delivering the best economic results.

Improve and Upgrade

As the pivotal platform for wind farm digitalization at early stages of construction, GoldFarm integrates technological advantages of various product models, optimizes working efficiency, and improves the precision of wind farm planning and design. It efficiently delivers precise overall designs. In the future where wind power will be of the same costs of thermal power and with the bidding policy coming, it will help users to optimize wind farm investment.

The core feature of GoldFarm is interconnectivity. The nature of interconnectivity comes from innovative investment and accumulated research of fundamental technologies. Without independently developed algorithms, we would not be able to break down multiple technological barriers to connect separate dots.

Interconnectivity is the “blood” of GoldFarm, without which, GoldFarm would “age” rapidly. In the future, the GoldFarm team will continue to push forward technology connectivity and industrial interconnectivity to empower enterprises.