Modeling Wind Turbine / Tower Interactions within an Actuator Line Model

Open Access
Wang, Zhixiang
Graduate Program:
Aerospace Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Sven Schmitz, Thesis Advisor
  • wind turbine aerodynamic
  • actuator line method
  • turbine tower modeling
The wind turbine tower causes time-varying turbine blade loads and wake behavior; however, the interactions of the turbine blades with the tower are not accounted for in state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamic simulations of wind plants. In this thesis, a tower model is developed using the body-force method, specifically, the actuator line method. The actuator line method has been widely used to model wind turbine rotors in flow simulations of wind plants. The tower model is implemented into the full-scale NREL Phase VI turbine simulation under uniform inflow and steady yaw conditions. The simulation results, primarily the blade loads predictions along the turbine blades, are compared to wind tunnel test data from the NREL Phase VI Unsteady Aerodynamics Experiment. Quantitative comparisons against measured NREL data were performed for both spanwise and phase-averaged sectional blade loads as a function of rotor azimuth. The proposed tower model is well validated and be easily implemented by the wind energy community for use in both actuator line wind plant simulations and other fully blade-resolved wind turbine simulations.