Articles | Volume 2, issue 2
Research article
24 Nov 2017
Research article |  | 24 Nov 2017

Validation of the actuator disc approach using small-scale model wind turbines

Nikolaos Simisiroglou, Simon-Philippe Breton, and Stefan Ivanell

Abstract. The aim of the present study is the validation of the implementation of an actuator disc (ACD) model in the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code PHOENICS. The flow behaviour for three wind turbine cases is investigated numerically and compared to wind tunnel measurements: (A) the flow around a single model wind turbine, (B) the wake interaction between two in-line model wind turbines for a uniform inflow of low turbulence intensity and (C) the wake interaction between two in-line model wind turbines at different separation distances in a uniform or sheared inflow of high turbulence intensity. This is carried out using Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations and an ACD technique in the CFD code PHOENICS. The computations are conducted for the design condition of the rotors using four different turbulence closure models and five different thrust distributions. The computed axial velocity field as well as the turbulence kinetic energy are compared with hot-wire anemometry (HWA) measurements. For the cases with two in-line wind turbines, the thrust coefficient is also computed and compared with measurements. The results show that for different inflow conditions and wind turbine spacings the proposed method is able to predict the overall behaviour of the flow with low computational effort. When using the k-ε and Kato–Launder k-ε turbulence models the results are generally in closer agreement with the measurements.