Trailing-edge flow control for wind turbine performance and load control

Highlights

Flow around 3D turbine blade is dominated by spanwise flow on the suction side at higher wind speeds for stall regulated wind turbine.

Flow control effects from 2D sectional studies cannot be realized for 3D rotating blade due to suction side spanwise flow.

To improve wind turbine off-design performance, the micro jet performs better at lower wind and the micro tab at higher wind conditions.

At high wind speeds, unsteady simulations give a much better comparison with the wind tunnel test data for the mean torque generated.

Abstract

This paper reports an investigation into the performance of trailing-edge flow control devices on horizontal axis wind turbines by solving the three dimensional Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes equations in the rotational framework. The validation case selected for this work is the NREL Phase VI blade with wind tunnel experimental data. The trailing-edge flow control devices studied include microtabs and microjets installed near the trailing-edge of the rotating blade. The divergent trailing-edge is also included in the study as a passive flow control device due to its practical interest. These trailing-edge devices are implemented on the fixed-pitch NREL Phase VI blade, using the original performance and flow characteristics as a benchmark. Both 2D and 3D simulations are carried out in order to investigate the suitability of the 2D blade sectional design analysis and control for the actual 3D rotating blades.

Keywords

  • Flow control;
  • Microtabs;
  • Microjets;
  • Divergent trailing-edges;
  • Efficiency;
  • Load control

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