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Simulation of Flow Field on a Large Scale Wind Turbine

[+] Author Affiliations
I. Janajreh

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

C. Ghenai

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

Paper No. FEDSM2008-55189, pp. 741-746; 6 pages
  • ASME 2008 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting collocated with the Heat Transfer, Energy Sustainability, and 3rd Energy Nanotechnology Conferences
  • Volume 1: Symposia, Parts A and B
  • Jacksonville, Florida, USA, August 10–14, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4840-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3832-3
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Large scale wind turbines and wind farms continue to evolve mounting 94.1GW of the electrical grid capacity in 2007 and expected to reach 160.0GW in 2010 according to World Wind Energy Association. They commence to play a vital role in the quest for renewable and sustainable energy. They are impressive structures of human responsiveness to, and awareness of, the depleting fossil fuel resources. Early generation wind turbines (windmills) were used as kinetic energy transformers and today generate 1/5 of the Denmark’s electricity and planned to double the current German grid capacity by reaching 12.5% by year 2010. Wind energy is plentiful (72 TW is estimated to be commercially viable) and clean while their intensive capital costs and maintenance fees still bar their widespread deployment in the developing world. Additionally, there are technological challenges in the rotor operating characteristics, fatigue load, and noise in meeting reliability and safety standards. Newer inventions, e.g., downstream wind turbines and flapping rotor blades, are sought to absorb a larger portion of the cost attributable to unrestrained lower cost yaw mechanisms, reduction in the moving parts, and noise reduction thereby reducing maintenance. In this work, numerical analysis of the downstream wind turbine blade is conducted. In particular, the interaction between the tower and the rotor passage is investigated. Circular cross sectional tower and aerofoil shapes are considered in a staggered configuration and under cross-stream motion. The resulting blade static pressure and aerodynamic forces are investigated at different incident wind angles and wind speeds. Comparison of the flow field results against the conventional upstream wind turbine is also conducted. The wind flow is considered to be transient, incompressible, viscous Navier-Stokes and turbulent. The k-ε model is utilized as the turbulence closure. The passage of the rotor blade is governed by ALE and is represented numerically as a sliding mesh against the upstream fixed tower domain. Both the blade and tower cross sections are padded with a boundary layer mesh to accurately capture the viscous forces while several levels of refinement were implemented throughout the domain to assess and avoid the mesh dependence.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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