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Computational analysis of vertical axis wind turbine arrays

Abstract

Canonical problems involving single, pairs, and arrays of vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are investigated numerically with the objective of understanding the underlying flow structures and their implications on energy production. Experimental studies by Dabiri (J Renew Sustain Energy 3, 2011) suggest that VAWTs demand less stringent spacing requirements than their horizontal axis counterparts and additional benefits may be obtained by optimizing the placement and rotational direction of VAWTs. The flowfield of pairs of co-/counter-rotating VAWTs shows some similarities with pairs of cylinders in terms of wake structure and vortex shedding. When multiple VAWTs are placed in a column, the extent of the wake is seen to spread further downstream, irrespective of the direction of rotation of individual turbines. However, the aerodynamic interference between turbines gives rise to regions of excess momentum between the turbines which lead to significant power augmentations. Studies of VAWTs arranged in multiple columns show that the downstream columns can actually be more efficient than the leading column, a proposition that could lead to radical improvements in wind farm productivity.

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Correspondence to K. Duraisamy.

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Communicated by M.R. Malik.

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Bremseth, J., Duraisamy, K. Computational analysis of vertical axis wind turbine arrays. Theor. Comput. Fluid Dyn. 30, 387–401 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00162-016-0384-y

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Keywords

  • Vertical axis wind turbines
  • Wind farms
  • Wake interactions