Wind Turbine Array Performance Based on Coupling CFD with Doppler Lidar Measurements

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary. As the size of the modern wind turbines grow, the effect of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) variability on their operation becomes significantly more important. In this project we will develop a novel methodology to integrate field wind velocity measurements obtained by the Doppler lidar into a high-fidelity computational model for wind plant flow and power characterization. Doppler lidar measurements give the most reliable information of the microscale meteorological structures modulated by the regional terrain and local weather patterns. High-fidelity wind plant flow model based on Large Eddy Simulations (LES) generates highly-resolved spatio-temporal data including well-resolved unsteady turbine loads for assessing the structural response and power performance. When driven by the realistic atmospheric measurements, LES simulations will provide invaluable information to study the unsteady response of wind turbine arrays to the stochastic field atmospheric environment, which will be assimilated into the useful knowledge for creating reliable models for wind turbine control and wind farm layout optimization. Intellectual Merit. Intellectual merit will arise from the unique multiscale approach we will develop to propagate the effects of the sub-mesoscale atmospheric motion captured by the real-time observations down to the wind plant and wind turbine scales governed by the viscous effects and blade/wake interactions. This approach will combine the variational assimilation of the Doppler lidar data to retrieve the vector field information, reconstructing the sub-data scales by driving the auxiliary ABL LES simulations to match the lidar observations, and integrating the assimilated spatio-temporal stochastic inflow with the state-of-the-art wind plant flow characterization model based on LES and actuator line aerodynamics. Intellectual merit will also arise from novel computational experiments that will be performed with this approach: not only we will be able to study the effects of spatial wind variability on unsteady turbine loads and wake physics, but also computationally isolate the different sources of variability such as spatially-varying wind shear, wind yaw, wind tilt, with the goal of characterizing the relative strengths of these effects and creating the most reliable simplified inflow models that capture the essential physics. The creation of simplified models is crucial for improving design parameters and standards for wind turbine industry. Our numerical simulations are based on high-order spectral element computational solver Nek5000 developed and supported by Argonne National Laboratory that currently offers the most efficient utilization of high-end computing resources due to its high-order accuracy and extreme scalability. Broader Impacts. Scientific: The new multiscale approach of using the most of available field data to drive fine-scale highfidelity simulations proposed here has a far reaching potential in the fields of energy and sustainability and can help answer many pressing questions in energy optimization, urban planning and pollution prevention. The lessons learned and the topics discovered will be broadly disseminated within the scientific community. The PIs and their students will present their findings at national and international scientific conferences, publish in peer-reviewed research journals and incorporate into the university classroom curriculums. Integration of Research and Education: The current project will be a central theme for providing handson research and educational experience for the local high-school students from Kyrene School District in Tempe. Through competitive diversity-oriented scholarships, we will work with four high-school students including minority, female and low-income students, over the summer following the second year of the project. Through these scholarships, the students will have a chance to work 20 hours/week during a summer month on Arizona State University campus to develop Matlab-based codes for predicting wind plant power performance based on our research findings. In addition, we will work with Girls in Engineering and Science is Fun programs at ASU to disseminate the importance and challenges of wind energy research to a large, diverse group of K-12 students from local Tempe and Phoenix schools by organizing on-campus visits and presentations, as well as interactive tours of the Doppler lidar facilities.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/17


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $336,215.00

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