Université d'Orléans


Improving the energy efficiency of wind turbines:

the ANR SMARTEOLE project on wind turbine control technologies




The 42-month SMARTEOLE project was launched on January 1st, 2015, following the French National Research Agency (ANR) call for projects on the theme "The energy efficiency of processes and systems". This project is aimed at improving the energy production efficiency and lifespan of wind turbines via the development of innovative control solutions.

One of the major challenges for the development of the wind power sector is reducing the cost of the energy produced. The implementation of advanced wind turbine control systems represents one of the levers to optimize performance and achieve production gains.

Scheduled to last three and a half years, the SMARTEOLE project is being led by Laboratoire Pluridisciplinaire en Ingénierie des Systèmes, Mécanique et Energétique (PRISME), a laboratory of the University of Orléans, working alongside three research partners, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Laboratoire de recherche en Hydrodynamique, Énergétique et Environnement Atmosphérique (LHEEA-CNRS/Ecole centrale de Nantes) and the Laboratoire d’analyse et d’architecture des systèmes (LAAS-CNRS), along with two industrial partners, Maia Eolis and Avent Lidar Technology.

SMARTEOLE will lead to the development of control techniques designed to improve the operating conditions of wind turbines. The challenge is to integrate sensor systems (particularly Lidar) capable of accurately detecting incoming wind speed, direction and intensity. By measuring incoming wind, it will be possible to implement real-time control strategies to optimize nacelle and blade orientation. By anticipating the optimum orientation of the wind turbine via the measurement of incoming wind, the mechanical constraints placed on the structure (mast and blades) are significantly reduced, thereby decreasing maintenance costs and increasing the lifespan of the structure. SmartEole also aims to underpin this strategy with innovative concepts, making it possible to reduce mechanical fluctuations for shorter characteristic times via an active flow control system on the blades.

The control technologies developed within the project will thus be deployed on several scales – the blades, the turbines and the wind farm as a whole – and will form the focus of a range of research, from fundamental research conducted at lab scale up to full-scale demonstration in real conditions.


Two types of experimentation are planned:

-      full-scale testing on a Maia Eolis wind farm using control strategies developed by IFPEN with Avent Lidar Technology sensors.

-      wind tunnel measurements in facilities operated by LML and PRISME laboratories, with validation of control strategies developed by LAAS-CNRS and PRISME.




 SMARTEOLE's objectives leads to the following project decomposition through 7(0 to 6) work packages 

Work package 0: Coordination and dissemination
WP leader : S. Aubrun (PRISME)

Key objectives of this work package are:
- to establish the best work flow in order to achieve final objectives
- to prepare compilation of deliverables
- to synthesize the project outcomes and provide an auto-critic of the project
- to make recommendations for next steps and anticipate following projects (national or European)

Work Package 1: Testing coordination
WP leader : Nicolas Girard (ME)

Key objectives of this work package are:
- to translate needs of others WPs into detailed specifications for the experimental set-ups
- to determine the feasibility of field and wind tunnel experiments
- to plan the tests (availability of technicians and the meteorological conditions for the field test)
- to manage data checking, storage, dissemination

Work Package 2: Incoming wind conditions
WP leader: Matthieu Boquet (ALT/LEOSPHERE)

Key objectives of this work package are:
- to characterize the wind conditions on full scale wind turbines and wind farm
- to perform a first order description of the most critical wind phenomenon encountered on the selected site (wind speed, shear, wakes, turbine inflow, etc)
- to derive an optimized real-time estimation of the of the rotor inflow from the Lidar data
- to optimize the measurement strategy
- to contribute to the analysis of the performance of the control strategies

Work Package 3: Innovative control strategies for wind turbines
WP leader : Fabrice Guillemin (IFP-EN)

Key objectives of this work package are:
The main objectives of this WP is to design innovative control strategies for wind turbine, acting at blade and rotor scale.
Dedicated strategies for active flow control on blades (circulation control) are proposed for a lab scale application in order to maintain the lift coefficient constant for wind and incidence disturbances.
Dedicated control strategies (on the pitch actuator) based on a wind measurement sensor is designed to improve the behavior of the wind turbine decreasing the mechanical loads on both tower and the blades. The key objective is to go from strategies conception to their implementation for the experimentation.

Work Package 4: Blade airfoil scale
WP leader: Caroline Braud (LHEEA)

Key objectives of this work package are:
- to define suitable configurations (baseline flow, actuator and sensor types, number and locations, ...) that will be used in process identification and closed-loop strategies of WP3
- to perform Open-loop experiments from which, in interaction with WP3, models will be identified and control commands will be synthesized
- to perform closed-loop experiments with wind and/or angle of attack disturbances

Work Package 5: Wind turbine scale
WP leader: Annie Leroy (PRISME)

Key objectives of this work package are:
- to demonstrate feasibility of flow control for improving the aerodynamic performance of the wind turbine
- to test active and/or reactive control strategies at lab scale for rotating blades with the help of a wind turbine bench
- to test the optimized feed-forward pitch control strategies at field scale

Work Package 6: Wind farm scale
WP leader: Nicolas Girard (MAIA EOLIS)

Key objectives of this work package are:
- to test control strategies at the wind farm level.
- to collect more information on the sensitivity of wakes to control parameters
- to determine the influence of environmental conditions in the results
- to determine the added-value of Lidar measurements in such regulation
- to evaluate the possible earnings resulting of these strategies


 Developments will draw on the partners' expertise in the fields of wind power and lidar technology, as well as metrology, fluid mechanics and automatic systems.

Avent Lidar Technology develops and manufactures wind turbine nacelle mounted lidars Wind Iris. Avent is part of group LEOSPHERE, maker of short and long-range wind lidars WINDCUBE, and global leader in the wind energy industry, airport safety and operational meteorology.

IFP Energies nouvelles is a public research and training player. It has an international scope, covering the fields of energy, transport and the environment. From research to industry, technological innovation is central to all its activities.

LAAS-CNRS is a CNRS unit which research activities fall within the domain of Information Sciences and Technology. Labeled Institut Carnot in 2006, the laboratory has a history of strong relationships with industry and works in a large number of collaborative projects with international, national and regional industries of all size.

LHEEA is a french laboratory (Ecole centrale de Nantes/CNRS, UMR 6598) specialized in free surface flows, ocean and naval engineering, and atmosphere flow dynamics. The LHEEA is at the forefront in the development of Wave energy recovery systems, and nowadays in the overall development of renewable energy systems from oceans, such as off-shore wind turbines.

Maia Eolis, subsidiary of the MAÏA Group with 49 % hold by GDF SUEZ, is a single point of contact in the wind energy sector, from design to operations of wind farms, including construction and maintenance. R&D is a major activity in order to improve its productivity.

PRISME is a Pluridisciplinary Research laboratory on System Engineering, Mechanics and Energetics. It belongs to the University of Orléans, France. Innovations in transport, energy conversion and environment are parts of its main objectives.


ALT/LEOSPHERE – Matthieu Boquet – +33 (0)1 81 69 29 25 – mboquet[remplacer_par_at]leosphere-avent.com

IFPEN – Fabrice Guillemin – +33 (0)1 47 52 69 36  fabrice.guillemin[remplacer_par_at]ifpen.fr

LAAS– Dimitri Peaucelle – +33 (0)5 61 33 63 09 – peaucelle[remplacer_par_at]laas.fr

LHEEA – Caroline Braud – +33 (0)2 40 37 16 80 – caroline.braud[remplacer_par_at]ec-nantes.fr

Maia Eolis – Nicolas Girard – +33 (0)3 20 21 42 14 – ngirard[remplacer_par_at]maiaeolis.fr

PRISME – Sandrine Aubrun – +33 (0)2 38 49 43 94 – sandrine.aubrun[remplacer_par_at]univ-orleans.fr



 1. Multi-DBD actuators over a rounded trailing edge as a circulation flow control for wind turbine airfoils. Leroy A., Podlinski J., Baleriola S., Devinant P., Aubrun S. 3d ISNPEDADM, October 26-29, 2015, La Réunion, France

2. Circulation control on wind turbine blades in order to alleviate aerodynamic load fluctuations (2015). Aubrun S., Leroy A, Baleriola S., Devinant P. European Wind Energy Association conference, November 17-11, 2015,