Analytical Aerodynamic Simulation Tools for Vertical Axis Wind Turbines

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Wind power is a renewable energy source that is today the fastest growing solution to reduce CO2 emissions in the electric energy mix. Upwind horizontal axis wind turbine with three blades has been the preferred technical choice for more than two decades. This horizontal axis concept is today widely leading the market. The current PhD thesis will cover an alternative type of wind turbine with straight blades and rotating along the vertical axis. A brief overview of the main differences between the horizontal and vertical axis concept has been made. However the main focus of this thesis is the aerodynamics of the wind turbine blades.Making aerodynamically efficient turbines starts with efficient blades. Making efficient blades requires a good understanding of the physical phenomena and effective simulations tools to model them. The specific aerodynamics for straight bladed vertical axis turbine flow are reviewed together with the standard aerodynamic simulations tools that have been used in the past by blade and rotor designer. A reasonably fast (regarding computer power) and accurate (regarding comparison with experimental results) simulation method was still lacking in the field prior to the current work. This thesis aims at designing such a method.Analytical methods can be used to model complex flow if the geometry is simple. Therefore, a conformal mapping method is derived to transform any set of section into a set of standard circles. Then analytical procedures are generalized to simulate moving multibody sections in the complex vertical flows and forces experienced by the blades. Finally the fast semi analytical aerodynamic algorithm boosted by fast multipole methods to handle high number of vortices is coupled with a simple structural model of the rotor to investigate potential aeroelastic instabilities.Together with these advanced simulation tools, a standard double multiple streamtube model has been developed and used to design several straight bladed rotor ranging from 2 kW to 20 kW.