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Interaction between the atmospheric boundary layer and wind turbines

Event Type: 
Date and Time: 
Friday, November 6, 2015 - 16:00
CTR Conference Room 103
Event Sponsor: 
Parviz Moin, Director of Center for Turbulence Research
Mahdi Abkar, CTR Postdoctoral Fellow

Wind turbines extract kinetic energy from the ambient flow in the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). A profound understanding of the mutual interactions between ABL and wind turbines will indeed shed light on the path to the optimized wind farms. Apart from parameters like wind turbine sittings relative to the incoming wind, the wind farm performance is entangled with ABL flow whose structures and dynamics change by the variation of land-surface fluxes, geostrophic forcing and topography. Wind farms have also been reported to change land-surface fluxes (e.g. momentum, heat, moisture, pollution, etc.) which in turn can impact the local weather and climate [1-4]. All in all, this indicates a complex coupling between ABL and wind farms. An accurate and detailed prediction of ABL flow passing through a wind farm can provide insight into the dynamics of wind-farm-atmosphere interactions. Numerical simulation is a powerful and cost efficient approach that can provide invaluable information a) to maximize wind energy production; b) to minimize the fatigue load and noise inside a wind farm; and c) to quantify the magnitude and the spatial extent of a wind farm impact.

The specific objectives of Mahdi Abkar’s research include: a) improving our understanding about the effect of thermally-stratified ABL flows on the evolution of wind-turbine wakes as well as the performance of wind turbines in wind farms, and b) proposing new models to parameterize the effect of wind farms in large-scale atmospheric models (e.g., weather models).


[1] Keith, D., DeCarolis, J., Denkenberger, D., Lenschow, D., Malyshev, S., Pacala, S., Rasch, P. J., 2004. The influence of large-scale wind power on global climate. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 101.46, 16115-16120.

[2] Baidya Roy, S., Traiteur, J., 2010. Impacts of wind farms on surface air temperatures. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 107.42, 17899-17904.

[3] Calaf, M., Meneveau, C., Meyers, J., 2010. Large eddy simulation study of fully developed wind turbine array boundary layers. Phys. Fluids 22, 015110.

[4] Porté-Agel, F., Wu, Y. T., Lu, H., Conzemius, R. J., 2011. Large-eddy simulation of atmospheric boundary layer flow through wind turbines and wind farms. J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 99 (4), 154-168.

Mahdi Abkar received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, in 2014. His research interests lie on Computational fluid dynamics, Atmospheric sciences and turbulence, and Wind energy.