Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Farms: Modeling and Optimization
2011 New Investigator Award
Wind is an abundant and increasingly adopted source of clean, renewable energy. However, current technology largely relies on horizontal axis wind turbines that require very specific terrain and climatological conditions to perform optimally. Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) have several advantages mainly due to their ability to be scaled to very large sizes since the blades are supported at more than one point relative to the axis of rotation, and that they operate optimally for all wind directions. However, vertical axis machines have not been studied or developed to the same extent as horizontal axis machines, and may represent an improved method of harvesting wind energy, especially for large-scale wind farms where they can interact in ways that significantly enhances the overall power production.
This project investigates experimentally and numerically the optimization of VAWT from the scale of the individual-blade to the scale of large wind farms. Wind-tunnel experiments will be conducted to study the effect of wind speed on the optimal aerodynamic airfoil design, and the interaction of adjacent turbines.
Numerical simulations will focus on the modeling of the flow-blade interaction in high-resolution atmospheric large-eddy simulations, and the development of drag models for large-scale VAWT wind farms in collaboration with Chris Golaz, physical scientist at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.
Data generated through this project is being used to enrich engineering courses “Mechanics of Fluids” (MAE 222) and "Environmental Fluid Mechanics" (CEE 305), as well as independent research projects. In addition, significant opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in summer internships or conduct their senior research projects will be generated by the project.
- NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Chris Golaz)