Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
Research article
13 Mar 2017
Research article |  | 13 Mar 2017

Turbulence characterization from a forward-looking nacelle lidar

Alfredo Peña, Jakob Mann, and Nikolay Dimitrov

Abstract. We present two methods to characterize turbulence in the turbine inflow using radial velocity measurements from nacelle-mounted lidars. The first uses a model of the three-dimensional spectral velocity tensor combined with a model of the spatial radial velocity averaging of the lidars, and the second uses the ensemble-averaged Doppler radial velocity spectrum. With the former, filtered turbulence estimates can be predicted, whereas the latter model-free method allows us to estimate unfiltered turbulence measures. Two types of forward-looking nacelle lidars are investigated: a pulsed system that uses a five-beam configuration and a continuous-wave system that scans conically. For both types of lidars, we show how the radial velocity spectra of the lidar beams are influenced by turbulence characteristics, and how to extract the velocity-tensor parameters that are useful to predict the loads on a turbine. We also show how the velocity-component variances and co-variances can be estimated from the radial-velocity unfiltered variances of the lidar beams. We demonstrate the methods using measurements from an experiment conducted at the Nørrekær Enge wind farm in northern Denmark, where both types of lidars were installed on the nacelle of a wind turbine. Comparison of the lidar-based along-wind unfiltered variances with those from a cup anemometer installed on a meteorological mast close to the turbine shows a bias of just 2 %. The ratios of the unfiltered and filtered radial velocity variances of the lidar beams to the cup-anemometer variances are well predicted by the spectral model. However, other lidar-derived estimates of velocity-component variances and co-variances do not agree with those from a sonic anemometer on the mast, which we mostly attribute to the small cone angle of the lidar. The velocity-tensor parameters derived from sonic-anemometer velocity spectra and those derived from lidar radial velocity spectra agree well under both near-neutral atmospheric stability and high wind-speed conditions, with differences increasing with decreasing wind speed and increasing stability. We also partly attribute these differences to the lidar beam configuration.

Short summary
Nacelle lidars are nowadays extensively used to scan the turbine inflow. Thus, it is important to characterize turbulence from their measurements. We present two methods to perform turbulence estimation and demonstrate them using two types of lidars. With one method we can estimate the along-wind unfiltered variance accurately. With the other we can estimate the filtered radial velocity variance accurately and velocity-tensor parameters under neutral and high wind-speed conditions.
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