Wind turbines are an environmentally friendly and sustainable power source. Unfortunately, the noise impact can cause deteriorated living conditions for nearby residents. The audibility of wind turbine sound is influenced by ambient sound.
This thesis deals with some aspects of noise from wind turbines. Ambient sounds influence the audibility of wind turbine noise. Models for assessing two commonly occurring natural ambient sounds namely vegetation sound and sound from breaking waves are presented in paper A and B. A sound propagation algorithm has been compared to long range measurements of sound propagation in paper C. Psycho-acoustic tests evaluating the threshold and partial loudness of wind turbine noise when mixed with natural ambient sounds have been performed. These are accounted for in paper D.
The main scientific contributions are the following.
Paper A: A semi-empiric prediction model for vegetation sound is proposed. This model uses up-to-date simulations of wind profiles and turbulent wind fields to estimate sound from vegetation. The fluctuations due to turbulence are satisfactory estimated by the model. Predictions of vegetation sound also show good agreement to measured spectra.
Paper B: A set of measurements of air-borne sound from breaking waves are reported. From these measurements a prediction method of sound from breaking waves is proposed. Third octave spectra from breaking waves are shown to depend on breaker type. Satisfactory agreement between predictions and measurements has been achieved.
Paper C: Long range sound propagation over a sea surface was investigated. Measurements of sound transmission were coordinated with local meteorological measurements. A sound propagation algorithm has been compared to the measured sound transmission. Satisfactory agreement between measurements and predictions were achieved when turbulence were taken into consideration in the computations.
Paper D: The paper investigates the interaction between wind turbine noise and natural ambient noise. Two loudness models overestimate the masking from two psychoacoustic tests. The wind turbine noise is completely concealed when the ambient sound level (A-weighed) is around 10 dB higher than the wind turbine noise level. Wind turbine noise and ambient noise were presented simultaneously at the same A-weighed sound level. The subjects then perceived the loudness of the wind turbine noise as 5 dB lower than if heard alone.