Turbulent Flow Inside and Above aWind Farm: A Wind-Tunnel Study

Wind-tunnel experiments were carried out to better understand boundary layer effects on the flow pattern inside and above a model wind farm under thermally neutral conditions. Cross-wire anemometry was used to characterize the turbulent flow structure at different locations around a 10 by 3 array of model wind turbines aligned with the mean flow and arranged in two different layouts (inter-turbine separation of 5 and 7 rotor diameters in the direction of the mean flow by 4 rotor diameters in its span). Results suggest that the turbulent flow can be characterized in two broad regions. The first, located below the turbine top tip height, has a direct effect on the performance of the turbines. In that region, the turbulent flow statistics appear to reach equilibrium as close as the third to fourth row of wind turbines for both layouts. In the second region, located right above the first one, the flow adjusts slowly. There, two layers can be identified: an internal boundary layer where the flow is affected by both the incoming wind and the wind turbines, and an equilibrium layer, where the flow is fully adjusted to the wind farm. An adjusted logarithmic velocity distribution is observed in the equilibrium layer starting from the sixth row of wind turbines. The effective surface roughness length induced by the wind farm is found to be higher than that predicted by some existing models. Momentum recovery and turbulence intensity are shown to be affected by the wind farm layout. Power spectra show that the signature of the tip vortices, in both streamwise and vertical velocity components, is highly affected by both the relative location in the wind farm and the wind farm layout.

Published in:
Energies, 4, 11, 1916-1936

 Record created 2012-01-06, last modified 2018-01-28

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