Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
Wind Energ. Sci., 2, 1–13, 2017
Wind Energ. Sci., 2, 1–13, 2017

Research article 10 Jan 2017

Research article | 10 Jan 2017

On the impact of non-Gaussian wind statistics on wind turbines – an experimental approach

Jannik Schottler1, Nico Reinke1, Agnieszka Hölling1, Jonathan Whale2, Joachim Peinke1, and Michael Hölling1 Jannik Schottler et al.
  • 1ForWind, University of Oldenburg, Institute of Physics, Küpkersweg 70, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
  • 2Murdoch University, School of Engineering and Information Technology, Murdoch, WA, 6150, Australia

Abstract. The effect of intermittent and Gaussian inflow conditions on wind energy converters is studied experimentally. Two different flow situations were created in a wind tunnel using an active grid. Both flows exhibit nearly equal mean velocity values and turbulence intensities but strongly differ in their two point statistics, namely their distribution of velocity increments on a variety of timescales, one being Gaussian distributed, and the other one being strongly intermittent. A horizontal axis model wind turbine is exposed to both flows, isolating the effect on the turbine of the differences not captured by mean values and turbulence intensities. Thrust, torque and power data were recorded and analyzed, showing that the model turbine does not smooth out intermittency. Intermittent inflow is converted to similarly intermittent turbine data on all scales considered, reaching down to sub-rotor scales in space. This indicates that it is not correct to assume a smoothing of intermittent wind speed increments below the size of the rotor.

Short summary
To what extent turbulence characteristics of wind in the atmosphere transfer to wind turbines in terms of power, loads, etc. is of great interest throughout the research community. An experimental approach using a model wind turbine at laboratory scale was used in a wind tunnel study. It is shown that the gustiness of the wind remains present in the wind turbine data, stressing the importance of including those wind characteristics in industry standards and when designing wind turbines.