Simulations of wind turbine wake interactions in OpenFOAM

by Stovall, Timothy D., M.S., UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER, 2009, 105 pages; 1469025


Wind turbines are the predominate technology for non-hydro renewable energy. As turbines extract energy from wind, a wake or disturbed, turbulent region of wind is created downstream of the turbine. Wind turbines located in the wake of another turbine do not produce as much power as the upstream turbine. Current modeling efforts fail to accurately predict power losses in downstream turbines by not completely capturing wake effects. Further research to understand and model wake effects is necessary to reduce wake power losses and improve overall wind farm power production. A model is created that simulates the neutrally stratified atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). The neutral ABL simulation is validated against three criteria from experimental data. The model is run in both Large Eddy Simulation (LES) and Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) to compare the two methods. Wind turbines at various downstream positions are modeled within the neutral ABL simulation using an actuator disc. Results from this model include the power deficit ratio of a turbine located in a wake. Power deficit ratios for LES and RANS simulations are within 2-4% and 15-43% of experimental data, respectively. With the results from these simulations, wind farm developers can create a lower-order model to include hundreds of turbines necessary to model an entire wind farm and improve efficiency.

AdviserGary Pawlas
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsMechanical engineering
Publication Number1469025

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