Wind wake | National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois

Wind wake

10.16.13 -

The robust growth of wind energy means that big portions of land are being used for large wind farms. While research has shown that turbine power in wind farms is influenced by the upstream wake from other turbines (power can decrease 50% compared to free-standing turbines), little is known about how a large array of wind turbines interacts with the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer at larger scales in the wind turbine array boundary layer (WTABL).

Charles Meneveau from John Hopkins University is using XSEDE resources to conduct large eddy simulations (LES) of large wind-parks so that his team can study the mechanisms that control the relative power output of wind turbines downstream in various wind farm configurations. They then compare the simulations with recent experimental work that found two types of buffer layer structures: a pair of counter rotating vortices and multiple stream-wise vortices. In addition to presentations at various conferences, their work has been published in numerous journals, including the Physics of Fluids and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.

Through the XSEDE project’s Extended Collaborative Support Service (ECSS), NCSA research programmer Darren Adams helped extend the code Meneveau’s team developed so it works with 2D domain composition and exhibits good scaling on XSEDE resources. He also developed parallel I/O capability.

NCSA visualization expert David Bock used his custom visualization and rendering system to transform the team’s data into high-quality scientific visualizations for improved understanding and analysis of their results. He began by examining 2D slice plane representations of the scalar components. These slice plane representations showed variations near the wind turbines in the simulation. Next he employed a variety of techniques to investigate velocity and stream direction. He then investigated the scalar components using a variety of 3D visualization techniques.