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Title: An Advanced Actuator Line Method for Wind Energy Applications and Beyond: Preprint

Abstract

The actuator line method to represent rotor aerodynamics within computational fluid dynamics has been in use for over a decade. This method applies a body force to the flow field along rotating lines corresponding to the individual rotor blades and employs tabular airfoil data to compute the force distribution. The actuator line method is attractive because compared to blade-resolved simulations, the required mesh is much simpler and the computational cost is lower. This work proposes a higher fidelity variant of the actuator line method meant to fill the space between current actuator line and blade-resolved simulations. It contains modifications in two key areas. The first is that of freestream velocity vector estimation along the line, which is necessary to compute the lift and drag along the line using tabular airfoil data. Most current methods rely on point sampling in which the location of sampling is ambiguous. Here we test a velocity sampling method that uses a properly weighted integral over space, removing this ambiguity. The second area of improvement is the function used to project the one-dimensional actuator line force onto the three-dimensional fluid mesh as a body force. We propose and test a projection function that spreads the forcemore » over a region that looks something like a real blade with the hope that it will produce the blade local and near wake flow features with more accuracy and higher fidelity. Our goal is that between these two improvements, not only will the flow field predictions be enhanced, but also the spanwise loading will be made more accurate. We refer to this combination of improvements as the advanced actuator line method. We apply these improvements to two different wind turbine cases. Although there is a strong wind energy motivation in our work, there is no reason these advanced actuator line ideas cannot be used in other applications, such as helicopter rotors.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Wind and Water Technologies Office (EE-4W)
OSTI Identifier:
1349215
Report Number(s):
NREL/CP-5000-67611
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech 2017, 9-13 January 2017, Grapevine, Texas
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
17 WIND ENERGY; actuator line; wind turbine; aerodynamics; computational fluid mechanics

Citation Formats

Churchfield, Matthew, Schreck, Scott, Martinez-Tossas, Luis A., Meneveau, Charles, and Spalart, Philippe R. An Advanced Actuator Line Method for Wind Energy Applications and Beyond: Preprint. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2514/6.2017-1998.
Churchfield, Matthew, Schreck, Scott, Martinez-Tossas, Luis A., Meneveau, Charles, & Spalart, Philippe R. An Advanced Actuator Line Method for Wind Energy Applications and Beyond: Preprint. United States. doi:10.2514/6.2017-1998.
Churchfield, Matthew, Schreck, Scott, Martinez-Tossas, Luis A., Meneveau, Charles, and Spalart, Philippe R. Fri . "An Advanced Actuator Line Method for Wind Energy Applications and Beyond: Preprint". United States. doi:10.2514/6.2017-1998. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1349215.
@article{osti_1349215,
title = {An Advanced Actuator Line Method for Wind Energy Applications and Beyond: Preprint},
author = {Churchfield, Matthew and Schreck, Scott and Martinez-Tossas, Luis A. and Meneveau, Charles and Spalart, Philippe R.},
abstractNote = {The actuator line method to represent rotor aerodynamics within computational fluid dynamics has been in use for over a decade. This method applies a body force to the flow field along rotating lines corresponding to the individual rotor blades and employs tabular airfoil data to compute the force distribution. The actuator line method is attractive because compared to blade-resolved simulations, the required mesh is much simpler and the computational cost is lower. This work proposes a higher fidelity variant of the actuator line method meant to fill the space between current actuator line and blade-resolved simulations. It contains modifications in two key areas. The first is that of freestream velocity vector estimation along the line, which is necessary to compute the lift and drag along the line using tabular airfoil data. Most current methods rely on point sampling in which the location of sampling is ambiguous. Here we test a velocity sampling method that uses a properly weighted integral over space, removing this ambiguity. The second area of improvement is the function used to project the one-dimensional actuator line force onto the three-dimensional fluid mesh as a body force. We propose and test a projection function that spreads the force over a region that looks something like a real blade with the hope that it will produce the blade local and near wake flow features with more accuracy and higher fidelity. Our goal is that between these two improvements, not only will the flow field predictions be enhanced, but also the spanwise loading will be made more accurate. We refer to this combination of improvements as the advanced actuator line method. We apply these improvements to two different wind turbine cases. Although there is a strong wind energy motivation in our work, there is no reason these advanced actuator line ideas cannot be used in other applications, such as helicopter rotors.},
doi = {10.2514/6.2017-1998},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Mar 24 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Fri Mar 24 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Conference:
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  • The actuator line method to represent rotor aerodynamics within computational fluid dynamics has been in use for over a decade. This method applies a body force to the flow field along rotating lines corresponding to the individual rotor blades and employs tabular airfoil data to compute the force distribution. The actuator line method is attractive because compared to blade-resolved simulations, the required mesh is much simpler and the computational cost is lower. This work proposes a higher fidelity variant of the actuator line method meant to fill the space between current actuator line and blade-resolved simulations. It contains modifications inmore » two key areas. The first is that of freestream velocity vector estimation along the line, which is necessary to compute the lift and drag along the line using tabular airfoil data. Most current methods rely on point sampling in which the location of sampling is ambiguous. Here we test a velocity sampling method that uses a properly weighted integral over space, removing this ambiguity. The second area of improvement is the function used to project the one-dimensional actuator line force onto the three-dimensional fluid mesh as a body force. We propose and test a projection function that spreads the force over a region that looks something like a real blade with the hope that it will produce the blade local and near wake flow features with more accuracy and higher fidelity. Our goal is that between these two improvements, not only will the flow field predictions be enhanced, but also the spanwise loading will be made more accurate. We refer to this combination of improvements as the advanced actuator line method. We apply these improvements to two different wind turbine cases. Although there is a strong wind energy motivation in our work, there is no reason these advanced actuator line ideas cannot be used in other applications, such as helicopter rotors.« less
  • This paper reports on the design and testing results from the U.S. Department of Energy Next-Generation Wind Turbine Drivetrain Project. The drivetrain design reduces the cost of energy by increasing energy capture through drivetrain efficiency improvements; by reducing operation and maintenance costs through reducing gearbox failures; and by lowering capital costs through weight reduction and a series of mechanical and electronic innovations. The paper provides an overview of the drivetrain gearbox and generator and provides a deeper look into the power converter system. The power converter has a number of innovations including the use of hybrid silicon (Si)/silicon carbide (SiC)more » isolated baseplate switching modules. Switching energies are compared between SiC and Si PIN diodes. The efficiency improvement by use of the SiC diode in a three-level converter is also described. Finally, a brief discussion covering utility interconnect requirements for turbines is provided with a particular focus on utility events that lead to high transient torque loads on drivetrain mechanical elements.« less
  • The actuator line model (ALM) is a commonly used method to represent lifting surfaces such as wind turbine blades within large-eddy simulations (LES). In the ALM, the lift and drag forces are replaced by an imposed body force that is typically smoothed over several grid points using a Gaussian kernel with some prescribed smoothing width e. To date, the choice of e has most often been based on numerical considerations related to the grid spacing used in LES. However, especially for finely resolved LES with grid spacings on the order of or smaller than the chord length of the blade,more » the best choice of e is not known. In this work, a theoretical approach is followed to determine the most suitable value of e, based on an analytical solution to the linearized inviscid flow response to a Gaussian force. We find that the optimal smoothing width eopt is on the order of 14%-25% of the chord length of the blade, and the center of force is located at about 13%-26% downstream of the leading edge of the blade for the cases considered. These optimal values do not depend on angle of attack and depend only weakly on the type of lifting surface. It is then shown that an even more realistic velocity field can be induced by a 2-D elliptical Gaussian lift-force kernel. Some results are also provided regarding drag force representation.« less
  • Utility-scale wind turbines require active control systems to operate at variable rotational speeds. As turbines become larger and more flexible, advanced control algorithms become necessary to meet multiple objectives such as speed regulation, blade load mitigation, and mode stabilization. At the same time, they must maximize energy capture. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed control design and testing capabilities to meet these growing challenges.
  • Measurements of wind characteristics over a wide range of heights up to and above 100 m are useful to: (1) characterize the local and regional wind climate; (2) validate wind resource estimates derived from numerical models; and (3) evaluate changes in wind characteristics and wind shear over the area swept by the blades. Developing wind climatology at advanced turbine hub heights for the United States benefits wind energy development. Tall tower data from Kansas, Indiana, and Minnesota (which have the greatest number of tall towers with measurement data) will be the focus of this paper. Analyses of data from themore » tall towers will start the process of developing a comprehensive climatology.« less