Actuator Line Modeling of Wind Turbine Wakes

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Abstract

This thesis contains a comprehensive 3D Navier-Stokes computational study of the characteristics of wakes of wind turbines operating in various flow conditions including interacting wakes between a row of turbines. The computations were carried out using the actuator line technique combined with the 3D Navier Stokes solver EllipSys3D and a LES turbulence model. Simple models, based on applying body forces in the computational domain, are developed for imposing sheared and turbulent infow and their validity is discussed. A few computations on stand alone turbines are compared to measurements and good to fair agreement are shown in terms of respectively power coefficient and mean wake properties. The turbulence properties in the wake are generally characterized by its spectral characteristics and include estimation of spectral coherence, length scales and Reynolds stresses. Simulations of the wake from an isolated turbine operating in uniform inflow at tip-speed ratios ranging from λ = 3.21 to λ = 11.78 is presented and provides detailed information about the wake development including vortex properties and turbulence characteristics. Calculations on the wake of turbines subject to sheared inflow shows that besides an expected vertical skewed wake the wake also becomes increasingly asymmetric in the horizontal direction as it is convected downstream. The latter phenomena, which is also often observed in measurements, is argued to be caused by the rotation of the wake. A detailed study is presented to investigate the influence of including turbulence in the inflow. The study shows that the ambient turbulence causes the vortex system in the wake to become unstable much closer to the rotor and as a consequence the wake becomes fully turbulent earlier than if inflow turbulence is neglected. Furthermore, it is shown that the main effect governing the large scale meandering of wakes is the large scale structures of the ambient turbulence field. Finally studies are conducted on rows of respectively two and three turbines. The investigation includes evaluation of the loading on the rotors and it is shown that the turbines are subject to rather severe yaw moments, even in situations where the mean wind is oriented along the row. This observation is indicative of large scale dynamics of the wakes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages142
ISBN (Print)978-87-89502-80-9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

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