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An Experimental Study of the Aerodynamics and Performance of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine in Confined and Non-Confined Environment

[+] Author Affiliations
Vincenzo Dossena, Giacomo Persico, Berardo Paradiso

Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy

Lorenzo Battisti, Sergio Dell’Anna, Alessandra Brighenti, Enrico Benini

Università di Trento, Trento, TN, Italy

Paper No. GT2015-42827, pp. V009T46A013; 13 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2015: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Oil and Gas Applications; Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles; Wind Energy
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 15–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5680-2
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


This paper presents the results of a wide experimental study on an H-type Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) carried out at Politecnico di Milano in the frame of the national founded project PRIN 2009. The experiments were carried out in the large-scale wind tunnel of the Politecnico di Milano, where real-scale wind turbines for micro generation can be tested in full similarity conditions. Integral torque and thrust measurements were performed, as well as detailed aerodynamic measurements to characterize the flow field generated by the turbine downstream of the rotor.

The machine was tested in both confined and non-confined environment, to highlight the effect of wind tunnel blockage on the aerodynamics and performance of the VAWT under investigation. The experimental results, compared with the blockage correlations presently available, suggest that specific correction models should be developed for VAWTs. The experimental thrust and power curves of the turbine, derived from integral measurements, exhibit the expected trends with a peak power coefficient of about 0.28 at tip-speed ratio λ = 2.5. Detailed flow measurements, performed in three conditions for λ equal to 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5, show the fully three-dimensional character of the wake, especially in the tip region where a non-symmetrical wake and tip vortex are found. The unsteady evolution of the velocity and turbulence fields further highlight the effect of aerodynamic loading on the wake unsteadiness, showing the time-dependent nature of the tip vortex and the onset of a non-symmetric dynamic stall for λ lower than 2.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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