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3D Simulation of the vertical axis

Wind Turbines

Michal Petružela, Vojtěch Blažek
Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava
Ostrava, Czech Republic,

Abstract—Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is turbine, Gorlov turbine had blades twisted in angle of 180
appropriate method to analyse aerodynamic flow in wind degrees because it had only 2 blades. Angle of twist is given by
turbine. This is why we choose this method to compare static dividing the full angle by number of blades. It is also called
torque characteristics of two vertical axis wind turbines Gorlov helical turbine. This blade curvature has the effect of
(VAWT), one with straight blade and the other one with helical evenly distributing the airfoil surface over rotation cycle. So
blade. Analyses are realized by use of Ansys CFX software. At there are no abrupt changes of lift and drag forces and therefore
first, three-dimensional (3D) simulations of straight blade turbine smoother torque curve and less vibrations and noise. Thanks to
with different meshes are carried out. To determine how much increasing computing power there is growing number of three-
mesh parameters affect the accuracy of result and computational
dimensional (3D) simulations. Kacor et al.[9][10] used
time. Then we perform 3D simulations of helical blade turbine
and compare its results with straight blade one.
computational fluid dynamic (CFD) to analyse VAWT and
compare results with speed characteristic provided by
Keywords—Computational fluid dynamic (CFD); vertical axis manufacturer and then modified its construction to achieve
wind turbine; Darrius turbine; Gorlov turbine; straight blade; better results. Howell et al. [11] compared two-dimensional
helical blade; static torque (2D) and 3D simulations with manufactured model and
conclusion was the 3D simulations show to be in reasonably
good agreement with wind tunnel measurements and 2D
simulations show greater performance because it does not
Due to continuously growing emphasis on renewable count with tip vortices. The aim of this paper is compare static
energy sources, there is also increased focus on research on this torque characteristics of Darrieus and Gorlov turbine in 3D
sources, among which belongs wind power. Wind power is CFD simulations. In simulations we use  –  turbulence
attractive due its low maintenance cost. Currently most model, its strength is given by the reduced calculation times
widespread type of wind turbine is one with horizontal axis of required to perform a simulation with good levels of
rotation (HAWT). The output power from HAWT varies in convergence [12].
wide range from 1 kW to units of MW. Although the type of
construction of these kinds of wind power plants is various
there can be found several factors that are common for proper
functionality of HAWT [1, 2]. Typical is higher wind velocity At first we describe characteristic dimensions of analysed
for optimal operation of HAWT with that is related necessity of Darrieus turbine, then we briefly mention boundary settings.
the equipment for adjusting turbine blades against direction of The solid geometry was created with AutoCAD and imported
wind. Accordingly to [3, 4] HAWT have low efficiency for low into ANSYS® DesignModeler™, there we created volumes in
wind velocity so the wind power plant is not fully utilized. which will be mesh generated. Modelled turbine with diameter
D = 1,5 m and height H = 2,2 m is composed of three
In the areas with lower wind velocities is more appropriate Wortmann FX 60-126 airfoils with chord length 0,4 m and a
to use vertical axis wind turbines. Generally vertical axis wind shaft of diameter Dshaft = 0,15 m. We created three
turbine (VAWT) have lower power output in ranges from computational domains, the reason was to achieve sufficiently
hundreds of W to units of kW, some experimental turbines dense mesh only in areas close to rotor blades so we don’t
have bigger output power, and for example Sandia 34-M rated waste computing power. Largest domain (DOk) have square
at 500 kW [5] or Éole Cap-Chat rated at 4 MW [6]. Main plane with side L_DOk = 15 m one of its face is set as inlet
advantage of VAWT is its independence of wind direction and with air velocity 10 m/s. Velocity is uniformly distributed and
operation at low wind velocities. In 1931 Darrieus [7] revealed directed along the x-axis. Remaining outer faces are set as
his concept of VAWT what is area of research to this day. One opening with direction and relative pressure 0 Pa. Second
example is Gorlov [8] and his patent of improved Darrieus domain (BOk) also have square plane with side L_Bok = 2,5 m
This paper is supported by the following projects: LO1404: Sustainable
development of ENET Centre; CZ.1.05/2.1.00/19.0389 Development of the
ENET centre research infrastructure; SP2017/159 Students Grant Competition
and TACR TH01020426, Czech Republic.

978-1-5090-6406-9/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE

5. Mesh 3 Mesh is composed of elements with various size. We can conclude that method creates mesh on the source face and then copy it to the the Mesh1 is insufficient and Mesh 2 is applicable only for target face. 2 see fig. Front and back faces of BOk and Name Body Nodes Elements Computational ROk are set to opening. Definition of angle of rotation III. PARAMETERS OF ROK MESH AND ITS EFFECT ON NUMBER OF ELEMENTS AND COMPUTATIONAL TIME DOk and last domain (ROk) that have circle plane with diameter of DROk = 1. for this reason we will use its simulation growth ratio 1. 3. topology of the body [13]. this creates 5 layers with have to use Mesh 3. This dense mesh is. 4. 1. Assuming that the more given in table 1. 2.7 m. for DOk is set to 0.05 m and in ROK we have three different settings are rotation are torques quite different. On top of that we use inflation We need torque values at different angles of rotation so we method on turbine wall blades.010 1520726 1460760 ~3 Fig. Size vary by domains. 4 and 5 we see that at certain angles of to 0. Mesh 1 Fig. . MESH CONFIGURATIONS Fig. in BOk By looking at fig. It then generates either hexahedral or wedge cases where we want average torque.015 659175 633600 1. because discrepancy of elements connecting the two faces and following the exterior average values between Mesh 3 and Mesh 2 is equal to 5 %.its purpose is to avoid big difference in mesh element sizes of TABLE I.2 m. (m) Mesh1 0. results in further comparison. Mesh 2 Fig. 2.175 Mesh3 0. the more accurate results. turbine blades walls have no slip sizing time boundary condition. Mesh is created with sweep method. 3. Turbine and computational domains Plan Fig. this elements are predominantly hexahedrons and a few are wedges.025 281625 268050  Mesh2 0.

8. Darrieus turbine . Because of more complex turbine shape we couldn’t use sweep method on ROk.Fig. Static torque characteristics of straight blade turbine for three different meshes IV. we used automatic method set Fig. Darrieus turbine. 9 shows static torque characteristics of both compared to patch conforming with body sizing set to 0. Fig. Fig. Static torque characteristics of Darrieus turbine and Gorlov turbine. this Gorlov turbine which is smoother torque curve compared to increased computational time approximately threefold. instead. 7. 6. 9. Another conclusion is the Gorlov turbine should not have problem to start up from any position because torque doesn’t drop to values close to zero what is case of Darrieus turbine. Resulting turbines and we can see previously mentioned advantage of mesh in ROk has 669 000 nodes and 3 411 000 elements. 8. Gorlov turbine fig. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODEL OF HELICAL BLADE TURBINE Twist angle of each blade is 120° so the end of one blade is just right above the starting point of next one as we can see at Fig.025 m.

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