CFD Simulations of Flows in a Wind Farm in Complex Terrain and Comparisons to Measurements

Matias Sessarego, Wen Zhong Shen*, Maarten van der Laan, Kurt Hansen, Wei Jun Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article describes Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations of flows in a wind farm in complex terrain in Shaanxi, China and the comparisons of the computational results with utility scale field measurements. The CFD simulations performed in the study are using either a Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) or Large-Eddy Simulation (LES) solver. The RANS method together with an Actuator Disc (AD) approach is employed to predict the performance of the 25 wind turbines in the farm, while the LES and Actuator Line (AL) technique is used to obtain a detailed description of the flow field around a specific wind turbine #14 near two met masts. The AD-RANS simulation results are compared with the mean values of power obtained from field measurements. Furthermore, the AL-LES results are compared with the mean values of power, rotor speed, and wind speed measured from the wind turbine and its nearby two masts. Results from the simulations indicate that both AD-RANS and AL-LES methods can reasonably predict the performance of the wind farm and wind turbine #14, respectively, in complex terrain in Shaanxi. The mean percent difference obtained for power in the AD-RANS simulations was approximately 20%. Percent differences obtained for power and rotor RPM in the AL-LES varied between 0.08% and 11.6%. The mean percent differences in the AL-LES for power and rotor RPM are approximately 7% and 1%, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Article number788
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number5
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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