Research in the main channel

SAFL's state-of-the-art 2.5 MW wind energy research station in Rosemount, Minnesota, along with our Atmospheric Boundary Layer wind tunnel and sophisticated large-eddy simulation tools comprise a powerful research framework that enables us to tackle a broad range of wind energy problems. We are working in close collaboration with academic, industry, and government laboratory partners to understand various turbulence-related aspects of wind power generation.

Focus Areas

  • Wind Farm Siting – Turbulent flow around a wind farm is modulated by the superposition of multiple wind turbine wakes. SAFL researchers are currently exploring the complexity of such turbulence by examining turbine models in varying arrays and resultant thermal stratifications.
  • Coatings and films for drag reduction – The fundamental mechanisms that induce drag reduction are not yet well established, making the use of riblet technology to reduce skin friction a topic of intensive research. SAFL researchers are conducting physical tests to quantify drag reduction in a full-scale turbine airfoil using a variety of riblet structures.
  • Turbine Wake Vortices – Greater understanding of the wakes shed by turbine blades is important to optimal turbine design. SAFL researchers are characterizing the structure as well as the behavior of the turbulent flow around turbine tips with emphasis on the vortical structures shed by the blades. Model wind turbines of different sizes are used to test and guide the development of improved parameterization of wind turbines in high-resolution numerical models.
  • Eolos Wind Energy Research Consortium – The consortium involves a wide range of industrial partners from small start-up companies to large international corporations. Consortium researchers are employing laboratory and field-scale experimentation and state-of-the-art computational modeling to tackle a broad range of critical areas in wind energy that span a wide range of scales. Ongoing research projects deal with wind farm siting, condition-based monitoring, control system optimization, aeroelastic modeling, drag and noise reduction methods via passive and active flow control strategies, radar interactions with wind farm, power electronics, and gear boxes.

Featured Projects: