Direct Measurements of Turbulence and Flow Characteristics of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Using the Eddy Covariance Method


Environmental Technology, School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, USM 11800, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia


Turbulence intensity measurements of vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) are essential to detemineitsefficiency and performance. In this study, the eddy covariance (EC) method was used to characterise the flow and directly measure turbulence of a VAWT in a controlled indoor laboratory using an ultrasonic anemometer (at 10 Hz) at specific grid positions of upwind and downwind (in the wake) of the VAWT. In constrast to numerical simulations, this method has the potential to accurately quantify turbulence of wind turbines and thus able to describe the flow patterns around a VAWTexperimentally. Results show that at the upwind position, some of the swept area of the VAWT obstructed the flow due to the counter current flow generated by the VAWT rotors’ rotation while causing some flows to be diverted and concentrated to the concurrent flow area of the VAWT. In the wake of the VAWT, flow velocities and turbulence decreased and dispersed while at the centre line, vertical turbulence decreased towards the bottom (ground) swept area.This downward transfer of turbulence caused generally negative vertical momentum transfer. However, a slight increase of turbulence was observed at the ground surface due to flow deflection.


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