Unraveling the mysteries of turbulence transport in a wind farm

Pankaj K. Jha, Earl P.N. Duque, Jessica L. Bashioum, Sven Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Abstract: A true physical understanding of the mysteries involved in the recovery process of the wake momentum deficit, downstream of utility-scale wind turbines in the atmosphere, has not been obtained to date. Field data are not acquired at sufficient spatial and temporal resolutions to dissect some of the mysteries of wake turbulence. It is here that the actuator line method has evolved to become the technology standard in the wind energy community. This work presents the actuator line method embedded into an Open source Field Operation and Manipulation (OpenFOAM) large-eddy simulation solver and applies it to two small wind farms, the first one consisting of an array of two National Renewable Energy Laboratory 5 Megawatt (NREL 5-MW) turbines separated by seven rotor diameters in neutral and unstable atmospheric boundary-layer flow and the second one consisting of five NREL 5-MW wind turbines in unstable atmospheric conditions arranged in two staggered arrays of two and three turbines, respectively. Detailed statistics involving power spectral density (PSD) of turbine power along with standard deviations reveal the effects of atmospheric turbulence and its space and time scales. High-resolution surface data extracts provide new insight into the complex recovery process of the wake momentum deficit governed by turbulence transport phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6468-6496
Number of pages29
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Optimization
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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