Modelling of wind turbine wakes in complex terrain using computational fluid dynamics
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This thesis focuses on modelling of wind turbine wakes when they are affected by real complex terrain features, such as hills and forests, and also examines the effect of the rotational momentum imparted to the downstream wake from the rotor blades. Modelling work is carried out using the commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solver FLUENT. Motivation for this project was the fact that there is currently limited knowledge on several issues that affect the operation of a wind farm in a complex terrain environment. Wind developers normally use commercial, easy-to-use software (such as WAsP) to predict the potential wind farm output , which are based on simple linear models to model wakes and wind flow orographic effects and have been calibrated for cases of simple terrain. In cases of complex terrain, they are expected to give errors due to arising non-linearities. After a review of the relevant literature, the chosen CFD procedure is explained. This involves the use of 3-D Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations using the Reynolds Stress Model for the turbulence closure, in order to account for the anisotropy in atmospheric turbulence. The Virtual Blade Model in FLUENT is demonstrated as a useful tool for modelling the rotor effects without the need of meshing the rotor geometry in detail and avoiding significant computational cost. The approach is initially validated with the widely documented Nibe measurements, which involved full-scale observations of a single wake over at terrain. The model is also tested in the case of a wind turbine operating at the summit of an ideal, Gaussian hill. The wake development is examined in detail and in comparison with another CFD approach. Most notably, a slight divergence is found in the wake path as it evolves downwind. Additionally, the proposed approaches of modelling the neutral atmospheric ow over a real hill and over a forest are validated with full-scale measurements. Ultimately, the work includes the modelling of real wind farms over complex terrain and validating the results with measurements. A coastal complex terrain wind farm is initially examined and results are validated with SCADA measurements and compared with results using the WAsP wind modelling software. Finally, a wind farm over hilly terrain and near forests is also considered and the effect of the forest in the wake is studied. Results are also validated with full-scale measurements.