Massively parallel time- and frequency-domain Navier-Stokes Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis of wind turbine and oscillating wing unsteady flows

Drofelnik, Jernej (2017) Massively parallel time- and frequency-domain Navier-Stokes Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis of wind turbine and oscillating wing unsteady flows. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Increasing interest in renewable energy sources for electricity production complying with stricter environmental policies has greatly contributed to further optimisation of existing devices and the development of novel renewable energy generation systems. The research and development of these advanced systems is tightly bound to the use of reliable design methods, which enable accurate and efficient design. Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes Computational Fluid Dynamics is one of the design methods that may be used to accurately analyse complex flows past current and forthcoming renewable energy fluid machinery such as wind turbines and oscillating wings for marine power generation. The use of this simulation technology offers a deeper insight into the complex flow physics of renewable energy machines than the lower-fidelity methods widely used in industry. The complex flows past these devices, which are characterised by highly unsteady and, often, predominantly periodic behaviour, can significantly affect power production and structural loads. Therefore, such flows need to be accurately predicted.

The research work presented in this thesis deals with the development of a novel, accurate, scalable, massively parallel CFD research code COSA for general fluid-based renewable energy applications. The research work also demonstrates the capabilities of newly developed solvers of COSA by investigating complex three-dimensional unsteady periodic flows past oscillating wings and horizontal-axis wind turbines.

Oscillating wings for the extraction of energy from an oncoming water or air stream, feature highly unsteady hydrodynamics. The flow past oscillating wings may feature dynamic stall and leading edge vortex shedding, and is significantly three-dimensional due to finite-wing effects. Detailed understanding of these phenomena is essential for maximising the power generation efficiency. Most of the knowledge on oscillating wing hydrodynamics is based on two-dimensional low-Reynolds number computational fluid dynamics studies and experimental testing. However, real installations are expected to feature Reynolds numbers of the order of 1 million and strong finite-wing-induced losses. This research investigates the impact of finite wing effects on the hydrodynamics of a realistic aspect ratio 10 oscillating wing device in a stream with Reynolds number of 1.5 million, for two high-energy extraction operating regimes. The benefits of using endplates in order to reduce finite-wing-induced losses are also analyzed. Three-dimensional time-accurate Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes simulations using Menter's shear stress transport turbulence model and a 30-million-cell grid are performed. Detailed comparative hydrodynamic analyses of the finite and infinite wings highlight that the power generation efficiency of the finite wing with sharp tips for the considered high energy-extraction regimes decreases by up to 20 %, whereas the maximum power drop is 15 % at most when using the endplates.

Horizontal-axis wind turbines may experience strong unsteady periodic flow regimes, such as those associated with the yawed wind condition. Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes CFD has been demonstrated to predict horizontal-axis wind turbine unsteady flows with accuracy suitable for reliable turbine design. The major drawback of conventional Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes CFD is its high computational cost. A time-step-independent time-domain simulation of horizontal-axis wind turbine periodic flows requires long runtimes, as several rotor revolutions have to be simulated before the periodic state is achieved. Runtimes can be significantly reduced by using the frequency-domain harmonic balance method for solving the unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations. This research has demonstrated that this promising technology can be efficiently used for the analyses of complex three-dimensional horizontal-axis wind turbine periodic flows, and has a vast potential for rapid wind turbine design. The three-dimensional simulations of the periodic flow past the blade of the NREL 5-MW baseline horizontal-axis wind turbine in yawed wind have been selected for the demonstration of the effectiveness of the developed technology. The comparative assessment is based on thorough parametric time-domain and harmonic balance analyses. Presented results highlight that horizontal-axis wind turbine periodic flows can be computed by the harmonic balance solver about fifty times more rapidly than by the conventional time-domain analysis, with accuracy comparable to that of the time-domain solver.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Compressible multigrid Navier-Stokes solvers, Computational fluid dynamics, Dynamic stall, Energy-extracting oscillating wing, Finite wing effects, Harmonic balance Navier-Stokes equations, Horizontal-axis wind turbine periodic aerodynamics, Fully coupled multigrid integration, Leading edge vortex shedding, Point-implicit Runge-Kutta smoother, Shear stress transport turbulence model
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Q Science > QC Physics
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
V Naval Science > VM Naval architecture. Shipbuilding. Marine engineering
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Supervisor's Name: Campobasso, Dr M. Sergio
Date of Award: 23 June 2017
Depositing User: Dr Jernej Drofelnik
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8284
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2017 11:14
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2017 10:57

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