Optimisation studies for wind power generation in Malaysia

Manoharan, Manoorathy (2020) Optimisation studies for wind power generation in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This research addresses a gap in the market for harnessing wind energy in Malaysia. While there is a global shift in the quest for renewable energy (RE) sources, non-renewable energy sources continue to dominate Malaysia’s electricity production. In recent years, Malaysia has explored alternative RE sources in its national fuel policies and has focused on biomass and solar. A cleaner source of RE-wind has been largely under-explored. Several early studies on Malaysia have exerted a cautionary note due to the low wind speeds prevalent. Moreover, most studies have relied on statistical estimations and very few studies have used wind analysis software to analyse the wind energy potential in Malaysia. There is also evidence in the literature that there is a dearth of initial wind characteristic studies and spatial wind mapping in Malaysia. This study contributes to addresses this gap using robust estimation techniques.

Data on wind speed and wind direction from NCEI for 16 years and 36 sites across Malaysia are used to conduct preliminary statistical analysis. Topographical features from SRTM data and user assigned roughness maps are used to produce more robust estimates. Actual power curves and thrust coefficient curves of commercially available small wind turbines are used to estimate the annual energy production (AEPs) including considering wake loss and performance indicator (dRIX). Geospatial software Google Earth Pro is used to identify sites for micrositing to produce empirical relevant recommendations. Economic feasibility analysis was conducted using commercially available wind turbines.

Preliminary descriptive statistics indicate that Kudat, Mersing, Kota Bharu, Langkawi, Miri and Penang Island have the highest wind speeds and power density (PD). The wind speeds at these five sites average between 3.9 and 4.2 ms-1, while the mean PD ranges from 58 to 74Wm-2 at 30 m hub height. These results align with previous studies on Malaysia, other than Kudat experiences the highest PD when roughness data is not incorporated. However, PD estimations incorporating roughness maps are different from those in the literature. Penang Island, Kudat, Miri and Sandakan are found to have higher PD than Mersing, Kota Bharu and Langkawi. Penang Island is estimated to have the highest PD of 110 Wm-2. Since Kota Bharu is highly congested and Langkawi has high dRIX, both sites were dropped from top 5 consideration.

The top five sites have mean AEPs of 22.7MWh to 83.2MWh, when an Aeolos 50kW turbine of 30m hub height is used. When considering mircrositing, areas in East Malaysia stand-out for their lower mean dRIX (less than 0.3% for Sandakan and Miri), easier access to sites and possibility of placing wind turbines in large wind farms with relatively lower wake loss. Economic feasibility analysis indicate that it is possible to harness wind energy in Malaysia using commercially wind turbines above 20kW. The levelised cost of energy (LCOE) is below RM 0.70 for Penang Island, Kudat, Miri Sandakan and Mersing, when Aeolos 30kW turbines are employed at 30m hub height.

The validity of the WAsP model was assessed by comparing the actual AEP for a live wind turbine to that of the estimated AEP using WAsP. The results indicate that WAsP is likely to underestimate AEP by 13%. However, this deviation may partly be due to data being only available for 17.9 hours a day on average. Overall, the analysis validates that WAsP is a robust and powerful model to estimate the wind AEP when roughness is incorporated. The results from this study demonstrates that there is potential to harness wind energy profitably in Malaysia using small wind turbines. Moreover, given the success of wind energy systems in neighbouring Thailand, with similar mean wind speeds of less than 3 ms-1, Malaysia should consider harnessing wind energy.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Abakr, Yousif Abdalla
Scribano, Gianfranco
Keywords: renewable energy, wind energy, Malaysia, WAsP, AEP, biomass, wind turbine
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Science and Engineering — Engineering > Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering
Item ID: 60695
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2020 08:53
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2022 04:30
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/60695

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