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Flow Simulation Around a Rim-Driven Wind Turbine and in Its Wake

[+] Author Affiliations
Bryan E. Kaiser, Svetlana V. Poroseva, Michael A. Snider

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Rob O. Hovsapian

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Erick Johnson

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Paper No. GT2013-94054, pp. V008T44A001; 6 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2013: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 8: Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles; Wind Energy; Honors and Awards
  • San Antonio, Texas, USA, June 3–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5529-4
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


A relatively high free stream wind velocity is required for conventional horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) to generate power. This requirement significantly limits the area of land for viable onshore wind farm locations. To expand a potential for wind power generation and an area suitable for onshore wind farms, new wind turbine designs capable of wind energy harvesting at low wind speeds are currently in development.

The aerodynamic characteristics of such wind turbines are notably different from industrial standards. The optimal wind farm layout for such turbines is also unknown. Accurate and reliable simulations of a flow around and behind a new wind turbine design should be conducted prior constructing a wind farm to determine optimal spacing of turbines on the farm.

However, computations are expensive even for a flow around a single turbine. The goal of the current study is to determine a set of simulation parameters that allows one to conduct accurate and reliable simulations at a reasonable cost of computations. For this purpose, a sensitivity study on how the parameters variation influences the results of simulations is conducted. Specifically, the impact of a grid refinement, grid stretching, grid cell shape, and a choice of a turbulent model on the results of simulation of a flow around a mid-sized Rim Driven Wind Turbine (U.S. Patent 7399162) and in its near wake is analyzed. This wind turbine design was developed by Keuka Energy LLC.

Since industry relies on commercial software for conducting flow simulations, STAR-CCM+ software [1] was used in our study. A choice of a turbulence model was made based on the results from our previous sensitivity study of flow simulations over a rotating disk [2].

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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