Assessment of blade element momentum codes under varying turbulence levels by comparing with blade resolved computational fluid dynamics

Yusik Kim*, Helge Aa Madsen, Maria Aparicio-Sanchez, Georg Pirrung, Thorsten Lutz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Unsteady load calculations for a large wind turbine using two blade element momentum (BEM) codes (FAST, HAWC2) are compared with results from blade resolved computational fluid dynamics simulations (FLOWer). This is to assess the performance of BEM under varying turbulence levels. Instantaneous and mean of power, spectral data and sectional blade forces are analysed for the three codes. The AVATAR research turbine with a radius of 102.88 m is used in this study. Based on comparisons, FLOWer and HAWC2 show a very close trend in mean power variations with different turbulence intensities. In contrast, FAST does not show a similar trend. This is conjectured to be due to different implementation in the BEM codes of the unsteady turbulence inflows, such as azimuthal variation of induction and dynamic inflow. The maximum error of CP is 6% for FAST and 1% for HAWC2 compared to FLOWer.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRenewable Energy
Pages (from-to)788-802
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Wind turbine aerodynamics
  • Induction calculation method
  • Power scaling

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