Images of climate innovation

Category: Fuel for thought

Turbulence in a wind farm

What's this about?

Modern large-scale wind farms consist of multiple turbines clustered together usually in well-structured formations. Such a clustering exhibits several drawbacks, as some of the downstream turbines will inevitably have to operate within the wake of the upstream ones, with associated power losses of the order of 10-25%. Simulations of the kind presented here can help understand and design around these losses.

A silhouette of a wind turbine in front of a green swirl

More detail about the research

At EPCC we are working with the Turbulence Simulation Group at Imperial College London (ICL) to further develop the high-order Computational Fluid Dynamics solver Xcompact3d (https://www.xcompact3d.com/).

Winc3d, the wind farm simulator implemented in Xcompact3d, can be used to study the performance of large-scale wind farms. Such tools enable investigating new approaches to wind farm design and control through simulations rather than by experiment which could be prohibitively expensive. These simulations involve an enormous number of computations, requiring the use of large supercomputers and specialised programs such as Xcompact3d and Winc3d designed for use on supercomputers to run the simulations efficiently.

The image shown here is part of work investigating how wake-to-wake interactions between wind turbines can be managed to improve power extraction of the whole wind farm. By better understanding these wake-to-wake interactions optimised control and operational strategies can be developed to maximise the power output of large-scale wind farms.

Increasing the efficiency of wind farms means they can supply more of the power we use as a society, helping to meet the green energy targets being set by governments globally. Application of Research The image contributed by Dr. Georgios Deskos shows the interactions between turbines in a wind farm. This work investigates how wake-to-wake interactions can be managed to improve power extraction. A better understanding of wake-to-wake interactions will lead to optimised control and operational strategies to maximise the power output of large-scale wind farms.

Summary of Societal and Economic Impact To meet the green energy targets being set by governments globally will require maximising the efficiency of large-scale wind farms. Tools such as WInc3d can study these in detail via simulation which, combined with verification against existing installations, enables new approaches to wind farm design and control which would be prohibitively expensive to test experimentally otherwise.

Entrant: Paul Bartholomew , University of Edinburgh

Copyright: Georgios Deskos (NREL, ICL)

Funding: Energy Futures Lab, Imperial College London.

Links

https://www.incompact3d.com/