Numerical investigation of wind turbine and wind farm aerodynamics
A numerical method based on the solution of Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes equations and actuator disk respresentation of turbine rotor is developed and implemented in the OpenFOAM software suite for aerodynamic analysis of horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT). The method and the implementation are validated against the 1-D momentum theory, the blade element momentum theory and against experimental data. The model is used for analyzing aerodynamics of a novel dual rotor wind turbine concept and wind farms.
Horizontal axis wind turbines suffer from aerodynamic inefficiencies in the blade root region (near the hub) due to several non-aerodynamic constraints (e.g., manufacturing, transportation, cost, etc.). A new dual-rotor wind turbine (DRWT) concept is proposed that aims at mitigating these losses. A DRWT is designed using an existing turbine rotor for the main rotor (Risoe turbine and NREL 5 MW turbine), while the secondary rotor is designed using a high lift to drag ratio airfoil (the DU 96 airfoil from TU Delft). The numerical aerodynamic analysis method developed as a part of this thesis is used to optimize the design. The new DRWT design gives an improvement of about 7% in aerodynamic efficiency over the single rotor turbine.
Wind turbines are typically deployed in clusters called wind farms. HAWTs also suffer from aerodynamic losses in a wind farm due to interactions with wind turbine wakes. An interesting mesoscale meteorological phenomenon called "surface flow convergence'' believed to be caused by wind turbine arrays is investigated using the numerical method developed here. This phenomenon is believed to be caused by the pressure gradient set up by wind turbines operating in close proximity in a farm. A conceptual/hypothetical wind farm simulation validates the hypothesis that a pressure gradient is setup in wind farms due to turbines and that it can cause flow veering of the order of 10 degrees. Simulations of a real wind farm (Story County) are also conducted which give qualitatively correct flow direction change, however quantitative agreement with data is only moderately acceptable.