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Comparison of the blade element momentum theory with computational fluid dynamics for wind turbine simulations in turbulent inflow

: Ehrich, Sebastian; Schwarz, Carl Michael; Rahimi, Hamid; Stoevesandt, Bernhard; Peinke, Joachim

Fulltext ()

Applied Sciences 8 (2018), No.12, Art. 2513, 15 pp.
ISSN: 2076-3417
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWES ()

In this work three different numerical methods are used to simulate a multi-megawatt class class wind turbine under turbulent inflow conditions. These methods are a blade resolved Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation, an actuator line based CFD simulation and a Blade Element Momentum (BEM) approach with wind fields extracted from an empty CFD domain. For all three methods sectional and integral forces are investigated in terms of mean, standard deviation, power spectral density and fatigue loads. It is shown that the average axial and tangential forces are very similar in the mid span, but differ a lot near the root and tip, which is connected with smaller values for thrust and torque. The standard deviations in the sectional forces due to the turbulent wind fields are much higher almost everywhere for BEM than for the other two methods which leads to higher standard deviations in integral forces. The difference in the power spectral densities of sectional forces of all three methods depends highly on the radial position. However, the integral densities are in good agreement in the low frequency range for all methods. It is shown that the differences in the standard deviation between BEM and the CFD methods mainly stem from this part of the spectrum. Strong deviations are observed from 1.5 Hz onward. The fatigue loads of torque for the CFD based methods differ by only 0.4%, but BEM leads to a difference of up to 16%. For the thrust the BEM simulation results deviate by even 29% and the actuator line by 7% from the blade resolved case. An indication for a linear relation between standard deviation and fatigue loads for sectional as well as integral quantities is found.