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Numerical computations of wind turbine wakes

by Ivanell, Stefan S. A., PhD

Abstract (Summary)
Numerical simulations of the Navier-Stokes equations are performed to achieve a better understanding of the behaviour of wakes generated by wind turbines. The simulations are performed by combining the in-house developed computer code EllipSys3D with the actuator line and disc methodologies. In the actuator line and disc methods the blades are represented by a line or a disc on which body forces representing the loading are introduced. The body forces are determined by computing local angles of attack and using tabulated aerofoil coefficients. The advantage of using the actuator disc technique is that it is not necessary to resolve blade boundary layers. Instead the computational resources are devoted to simulating the dynamics of the flow structures. In the present study both the actuator line and disc methods are used. Between approximately six to fourteen million mesh points are used to resolve the wake structure in a range from a single turbine wake to wake interaction in a farm containing 80 turbines. These 80 turbines are however represented by 20 actuator discs due to periodicity because of numerical limitations. In step one of this project the objective was to find a numerical method suitable to study both the flow structures in the wake behind a single wind turbine and to simulate complicated interaction between a number of turbines. The study resulted in an increased comprehension of basic flow features in the wake, but more importantly in the use of a numerical method very suitable for the upcoming purpose. The second objective of the project was to study the basic mechanisms controlling the length of the wake to obtain better understanding of the stability properties of wakes generated by wind turbine rotors. The numerical model was based on large eddy simulations of the Navier-Stokes equations using the actuator line method to generate the wake and the tip vortices. To determine critical frequencies the flow is disturbed by inserting a harmonic perturbation. The results showed that instability is dispersive and that growth occurs only for specific frequencies and mode types. The study also provides evidence of a relationship between the turbulence intensity and the length of the wake. The relationship however needs to be calibrated with measurements. In the last project objective, full wake interaction in large wind turbine farms was studied and verified to measurements. Large eddy simulations of the Navier-Stokes equations are performed to simulate the Horns Rev off-shore wind farm 15 km outside the Danish west coast. The aim is to achieve a better understanding of the wake interaction inside the farm. The simulations are performed by using the actuator disc methodology. Approximately 13.6 million mesh points are used to resolve the wake structure in the park containing 80 turbines. Since it is not possible to simulate all turbines, the 2 central columns of turbines have been simulated with periodic boundary conditions. This corresponds to an infinitely wide farm with 10 turbines in downstream direction. Simulations were performed within plus/minus 15 degrees of the turbine alignment. The infinitely wide farm approximation is thus reasonable. The results from the CFD simulations are evaluated and the downstream evolution of the velocity field is depicted. Special interest is given to what extent production is dependent on the inflow angle and turbulence level. The study shows that the applied method captures the main production variation within the wind farm. The result further demonstrates that levels of production correlate well with measurements. However, in some cases the variation of the measurement data is caused by the different measurement conditions during different inflow angles.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:TECHNOLOGY; Engineering mechanics; Fluid mechanics

ISBN:978-91-7415-216-6

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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