Simulations pinpoint wind turbine vantage points

Feb 10, 2014
Simulations pinpoint wind turbine vantage points
“CFD simulation also helps you to get the right idea about turbulence levels on your target site, such as high and low turbulence zones so the machine can be put in a place with lower turbulence intensity to minimise the risk of it failing," Mr Tabrizi says. Credit: dclerch

Putting small and medium-size wind turbines in the wrong place within built environments can cause them to be less effective—or even have no effect at all—according to research from a Murdoch University PhD student.

Amir Tabrizi, from Murdoch's School of Engineering and Information Technology, used (CFD) in a study that explored the safety and performance of while gaining an insight into their inflow conditions.

"Installation of small and medium-size wind turbines on the rooftops of high buildings has often been suggested by architects and project developers as a valuable solution for achieving sustainable energy in building design," he says.

"But the performance of small wind turbines in the built-environment is really sensitive to the place you put them. If you put them in wrong place, you will not get any power.

"Unfortunately, there are several bad examples around Perth where they have put the machines in shadow and they don't work, not even in windy conditions."

Mr Tabrizi found existing standards used by small wind turbine manufacturers do not have any specific classes for built-environment application, only addressing their use in open-terrain.

"Because wind has more in the built-environment, some of the machines installed in these areas failed and broke," he says.

"There was some damage to cars in parking lots, due to broken blades from the small turbines.

"A specific class is needed in the standards to address designing these machines for built-environment application via attention to a higher level of turbulence intensity."

The use of CFD in the research provided a cheap tool to gain a more accurate assessment of wind resources in the built-environment.

"Through wind simulation in the target area, CFD helps to find the right place for the turbine with higher wind speed to avoid re-circulation and shadow zones, also putting the machine where it will generate more power," Mr Tabrizi says.

"CFD simulation also helps you to get the right idea about turbulence levels on your target site, such as high and low turbulence zones so the machine can be put in a place with lower turbulence intensity to minimise the risk of it failing.

"For sites with turbines already in place, CFD simulation can show whether there are better opportunities for them on the site."

Mr Tabrizi highlighted five small turbines installed on the edge of the roof at Bunnings Port Kennedy warehouse—CFD has shown there is higher wind velocity and less turbulence on the middle of the roof, indicating that would be better a place for them.

Explore further: Vestas says record powerful wind turbine in operation

More information: Amir Bashirzadeh Tabrizi, Jonathan Whale, Thomas Lyons, Tania Urmee, Performance and safety of rooftop wind turbines: Use of CFD to gain insight into inflow conditions, Renewable Energy, Available online 8 December 2013, ISSN 0960-1481, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2013.11.033.

Related Stories

Building tops to house urban windpower

Dec 18, 2013

The southern hemisphere's largest ever Windpod system has been installed on the City of Cockburn's administration building in Spearwood, as part of a joint research trial with Windpods International.

Wind map shows untapped energy potential in cities

Apr 24, 2013

Putting a wind turbine on your suburban home may leave you disappointed but there is a large untapped wind energy potential in UK cities, say scientists. A new study has mapped the wind energy potential of ...

Recommended for you

First self-contained step dimming LED tube

14 hours ago

Samsung Electronics today introduced the industry's first AC Direct step-dimming LED linear replacement for T8 and T12 fluorescent tubes at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Convention ...

Battery system will be able to light 2,500 homes

14 hours ago

One of the largest, most environmentally-friendly, battery-based energy storage systems in the nation will be installed at the University of California, San Diego the campus announced today (Sept. 29).

NREL software tool a boon for wind industry

16 hours ago

Wind energy is blowing away skeptics—it's so close to achieving cost parity with fossil fuels that just a little extra efficiency is all that is likely needed to push it into the mainstream and past the ...

Harvesting energy from walking

17 hours ago

A device that fits into a shoe harvests the energy made by walking and successfully uses it in watch batteries.

User comments : 0