11 May 2023
 | 11 May 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

TOSCA – An Open-Source Finite-Volume LES Environment for Wind Farm Flows

Sebastiano Stipa, Arjun Ajay, Dries Allaerts, and Joshua Brinkerhoff

Abstract. The growing number and size of wind energy projects coupled with the rapid growth in high-performance computing technology are driving researchers toward conducting large-scale simulations of the flow field surrounding entire wind farms. This requires highly parallel-efficient tools, given the large number of degrees of freedom involved in such simulations, and yields valuable insights on farm-scale physical phenomena, such as gravity wave interaction with the wind farm and farm-farm wake interactions. In the current study, we introduce the open-source, finite-volume, large eddy simulation (LES) code TOSCA (Toolbox fOr Stratified Convective Atmospheres), and demonstrate its capabilities by simulating the flow around a finite-size wind farm immersed in a shallow, conventionally neutral boundary layer (CNBL), ultimately assessing gravity wave-induced blockage effects. Turbulent inflow conditions are generated using a new hybrid off-line/concurrent precursor method. Velocity is forced with a novel pressure controller that allows to prescribe a desired average hub-height wind speed while avoiding inertial oscillations above the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) caused by the Coriolis force, a known problem in wind farm LES studies. Moreover, to correct the dependency of the potential temperature profile evolution on the code architecture observed in previous studies, we propose a method to maintain the mean potential temperature profile constant throughout the precursor simulation. Furthermore, we highlight that different codes do not predict the same velocity inside the boundary layer under geostrophic forcing, owing to their intrinsically different numerical dissipation. The proposed methodology overcomes these issues by ensuring that the same hub wind and thermal stratification are used in successor simulations, regardless of the adopted code or precursor run time. Finally, validation of actuator line and disk models, CNBL evolution, and velocity profiles inside a periodic wind farm are also presented to assess TOSCA’s ability to model large-scale wind farm flows accurately and with high parallel efficiency.

Sebastiano Stipa et al.

Status: open (until 24 Jun 2023)

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Sebastiano Stipa et al.

Model code and software

Toolbox fOr Stratified Convective Atmospheres (TOSCA) Sebastiano Stipa, Arjun Ajay, and Joshua Brinkerhoff

Sebastiano Stipa et al.


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Short summary
In the current study, we introduce TOSCA (Toolbox fOr Stratified Convective Atmospheres), an open-source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tool, and demonstrate its capabilities by simulating the flow around a large wind farm, operating in realistic flow conditions. This is one of the grand challenges of the present decade, and can yield better insight into physical phenomena that strongly affect wind farm operation, but which are not yet fully understood.