View of the SAFL building from the river
August 14, 2014

Wind turbine performance and wake development for various atmospheric, operational and siting conditions

Kevin Howard, PhD Candidate in civil engineering

Advisors: Michele Guala, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota and Leonardo Chamorro, University of Illinois   

Abstract:  The performance of wind turbines depends entirely on the inflow conditions to which they are subjected.  The research presented in this thesis follows the desire to improve wind turbine performance and lifespan by experimentally investigating the impact of a wide range of turbulence conditions on wind turbine operation as well as wake development.  Testing was conducted at both the model-scale and full-scale utilizing an atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel and the Eolos wind research field station, both of which are significant resources available through St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota.  Research findings presented herein provide unique tools and analysis techniques for model-scale wind tunnel testing, which were used throughout to inspect the influence of thermal stability and other perturbations on wind turbine performance, as well as for full-scale testing involving remote sensing devices, meteorological data and turbine operation data.  The research conducted for this thesis contributes details pertinent to advancing the knowledge of the wind energy community in the specific areas of turbulence effects on performance (including exact measurements for upwind preview), wake development and meandering, and finally, techniques to modify total wind farm production.