Numerical Framework for Wind Energy Applications

The high-fidelity numerical framework for fluid-structure interaction (FSI) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) combines stabilized and multi-scale techniques for fluid mechanics, advanced structural modeling based on Isogeometric Analysis (IGA)  and novel mesh moving techniques. The framework addresses challenges associated with large Reynolds number turbulent atmospheric flows in complex domains, presence of the components in relative motion (rotor-tower interaction) superimposed on elastic deformation of blades, complex multi-physics coupling, geometric and material nonlinearity of the multilayer composite blades and large problem size.

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Aerodynamic simulation of multiple HAWT: the flow field is visualized by vorticity isosurfaces colored by velocity magnitude.

The methods and computer codes developed are now used to perform advanced CFD and FSI simulations of multiple wind turbines, including both horizontal- and vertical-axis designs, at full-scale with full geometric and material complexity operating in realistic flow conditions. The framework was also applied to perform first-of-its-kind 3D, time-dependent, FSI simulation of large-scale floating wind turbine. This includes wave modeling, complex structural design with mooring cables and air-wave-structure interaction. The proposed novel numerical framework can improve design and optimization process of wind turbines and  prevent failure of main turbine components by  providing high-fidelity outputs for quantities of interest for which measurements are not readily available.

Aerodynamic simulation of multiple vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWT). From left to right:  Vorticity isosurfaces colored by the velocity magnitude for FSI simulation of Windspire VAWT; Windspire VAWTs at Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE), Professor J. Dabiri; Vorticity isosurfaces colored by the velocity magnitude for CFD simulation of multiple Darrieus-type VAWT