Small wind turbines are often sited in more complex environments than in open terrain. These sites include locations near buildings, trees and other obstacles, and in such situations, the wind is normally highly three-dimensional, turbulent, unstable and weak. There is a need to understand the turbulent flow conditions for a small wind turbine in the built environment. This knowledge is crucial for input into the design process of a small wind turbine to accurately predict blade fatigue loads and lifetime and to ensure that it operates safely with a performance that is optimized for the environment. Computational fluid dynamics is a useful method to provide predictions of local wind flow patterns and to investigate turbulent flow conditions at small wind turbine sites, in a manner that requires less time and investment than actual measurements. This article presents the results of combining a computational fluid dynamics package (ANSYS CFX software) with a stochastic simulator (TurbSim) as an approach to investigate the turbulent flow conditions on the rooftop of a building where small wind turbines are sited. The findings of this article suggest that the combination of a computational fluid dynamics package with the TurbSim stochastic simulator is a promising tool to assess turbulent flow conditions for small wind turbines on the roof of buildings. In particular, in the prevailing wind direction, the results show a significant gain in accuracy in using TurbSim to generate wind speed and turbulence kinetic energy profiles for the inlet of the computational fluid dynamics domain rather than using a logarithmic wind-speed profile and a pre-set value of turbulence intensity in the computational fluid dynamics code. The results also show that small wind turbine installers should erect turbines in the middle of the roof of the building and avoid the edges of the roof as well as areas on the roof close to the windward and leeward walls of the building in the prevailing wind direction.
Wind Engineering – SAGE
Published: Apr 1, 2019
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