CFD modelling for Wind Energy development at LUT Computational Engineering

In Finland, wind energy is one potential renewable energy sources, but has not been widely exploited. Today, the interest for inland wind-farm locations is raising in Finland with several ongoing investment studies. However, inland locations mean complex terrains with hills, forests and lakes, all strongly influencing local weather and wind conditions, hence affecting optimal locations and elevations for wind turbines.2d-idealized-hill

A Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research group at the LUT Computational Engineering is actively working on developing CFD methodology for wind energy applications, thanks to the Renewtech project (2011-2014) in CEID/LUT. We model the wind flows with scale ranging from atmospheric boundary layers (1-2 km) down to wind parks and to wind turbine by combining expertise in energy, CFD and industrial mathematics. bolund-hill2

In particular, we focus on developing the CFD models and apply them for inland as well as cold-climate wind-energy technology, such as:

  • Development, application and validation of a CFD model for wind flows over complex terrain (PhD thesis)
  • Studying the influence of a forest to wind-turbine performance (PhD thesis)
  • Modelling the flow through forest using porous media models (PhD thesis-on going )
  • Studying the influence of forests with different shapes and densities to the wind-turbine wakes and power output (PhD thesis-on going)
  • Studying the effect of thermal stratification to wind-turbine wakes and to the wind potential power output
  • Development of a fast CFD model using the depth-averaged approach to consider terrain elevation effects by a mathematical model (PhD thesis-on going)
  • Optimizing wind turbine blade design for better power output (MSc thesis-on going)

In addition to wind energy research, we also use CFD models for tracking pollutant dispersion in urban (built) environment. In a recent MSc thesis project, CFD simulations were carried out to study the impact of different roof shapes on gas dispersion in an urban street canyon.