Computational Studies of the Effects of Active and Passive Circulation Enhancement Concepts on Wind Turbine Performance

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Tongchitpakdee, Chanin
Sankar, Lakshmi N.
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With the advantage of modern high speed computers, there has been an increased interest in the use of first-principles based computational approaches for the aerodynamic modeling of horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT). Since these approaches are based on the laws of conservation (mass, momentum, and energy), they can capture much of the physics in great detail. The ability to accurately predict the airloads and power output can greatly aid the designers in tailoring the aerodynamic and aeroelastic features of the configuration. First-principles based analyses are also valuable for developing active means (e.g., circulation control), and passive means (e.g., Gurney flaps) of reducing unsteady blade loads, mitigating stall, and for efficient capture of wind energy leading to more electrical power generation. In this present study, the aerodynamic performance of a wind turbine rotor equipped with circulation enhancement technology (trailing edge blowing or Gurney flaps) is investigated using a three-dimensional unsteady viscous flow analysis. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Phase VI horizontal axis wind turbine is chosen as the baseline configuration. Prior to its use in exploring these concepts, the flow solver is validated with the experimental data for the baseline case under yawed flow conditions. Results presented include radial distribution of normal and tangential forces, shaft torque, root flap moment, surface pressure distributions at selected radial locations, and power output. Results show that good agreement has been for a range of wind speeds and yaw angles, where the flow is attached. At high wind speeds, however, where the flow is fully separated, it was found that the fundamental assumptions behind this present methodology breaks down for the baseline turbulence model (Spalart-Allmaras model), giving less accurate results. With the implementation of advanced turbulence model, Spalart-Allmaras Detached Eddy Simulation (SA-DES), the accuracy of the results at high wind speeds are improved. Results of circulation enhancement concepts show that, at low wind speed (attached flow) conditions, a Coanda jet at the trailing edge of the rotor blade is effective at increasing circulation resulting in an increase of lift and the chordwise thrust force. This leads to an increased amount of net power generation compared to the baseline configuration for moderate blowing coefficients. The effects of jet slot height and pulsed jet are also investigated in this study. A passive Gurney flap was found to increase the bound circulation and produce increased power in a manner similar to the Coanda jet. At high wind speed where the flow is separated, both the Coanda jet and Gurney flap become ineffective. Results of leading edge blowing indicate that a leading edge blowing jet is found to be beneficial in increasing power generation at high wind speeds. The effect of Gurney flap angle is also studied. Gurney flap angle has significant influence in power generation. Higher power output is obtained at higher flap angles.
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