Large eddy simulation study of scalar transport in fully developed wind-turbine array boundary layers

Marc Calaf, Marc B. Parlange, Charles Meneveau

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140 Citations (Scopus)


Wind harvesting is fast becoming an important alternative source of energy. As wind farms become larger, they begin to attain scales at which two-way interactions with the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) must be taken into account. Several studies have shown that there is a quantifiable effect of wind farms on the local meteorology, mainly through changes in the land-atmosphere fluxes of heat and moisture. In particular, the observed trends suggest that wind farms increase fluxes at the surface and this could be due to increased turbulence in the wakes. Conversely, simulations and laboratory experiments show that underneath wind farms, the friction velocity is decreased due to extraction of momentum by the wind turbines, a factor that could decrease scalar fluxes at the surface. In order to study this issue in more detail, a suite of large eddy simulations of an infinite (fully developed) wind turbine array boundary layer, including scalar transport from the ground surface without stratification, is performed. Results show an overall increase in the scalar fluxes of about 10%-15% when wind turbines are present in the ABL, and that the increase does not strongly depend upon wind farm loading as described by the turbines' thrust coefficient and the wind turbines spacings. A single-column analysis including scalar transport shows that the presence of wind farms can be expected to increase slightly the scalar transport from the bottom surface and that this slight increase is due to a delicate balance between two strong opposing trends.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126603
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

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