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Research Papers

Full-Scale Wind Turbine Near-Wake Measurements Using an Instrumented Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle

[+] Author and Article Information
G. Kocer, M. Mansour, N. Chokani, R.S. Abhari

 Laboratory for Energy Conversion, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, CH 8092, Switzerlandkocerg@lec.mavt.ethz.ch

M. Müller

MM Engineering, Hildesheim, DE 31135, Germany

J. Sol. Energy Eng 133(4), 041011 (Oct 13, 2011) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004707 History: Received January 19, 2011; Revised July 18, 2011; Published October 13, 2011; Online October 13, 2011

In this paper, the first-ever measurements of the wake of a full-scale wind turbine using an instrumented uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) are reported. The key enabler for this novel measurement approach is the integration of fast response aerodynamic probe technology with miniaturized hardware and software for UAVs that enable autonomous UAV operation. The measurements, made to support the development of advanced wind simulation tools, are made in the near-wake (0.5D–3D, where D is rotor diameter) region of a 2 MW wind turbine that is located in a topography of complex terrain and varied vegetation. Downwind of the wind turbine, profiles of the wind speed show that there is strong three-dimensional shear in the near-wake flow. Along the centerline of the wake, the deficit in wind speed is a consequence of wakes from the rotor, nacelle, and tower. By comparison with the profiles away from the centerline, the shadowing effects of nacelle and tower diminish downstream of 2.5D. Away from the centerline, the deficit in wind speed is approximately constant ≈ 25%. However, along the centerline, the deficit is ≈ 65% near to the rotor, 0.5D–1.75D, and only decreases to ≈ 25% downstream of 2.5D.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Site of the present field experiment. (a) Contours of surface elevation. (b) Simulated wind flow – upper plot shows the velocity contours at an elevation of 100 m and the lower plot the velocity vectors at an elevation of 2 m (c) Vegetative cover. The location of wind turbine is shown in (a) and (c).

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Figure 2

Frequency distribution of wind speed and wind direction over a 24-h period encompassing the duration of the present field experiment

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Figure 3

Instrumented UAV (wingspan, 800 mm) equipped with a seven-sensor fast response aerodynamic probe (diameter, 20 mm)

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Figure 4

Sources of uncertainty in measurement of the wind vector. (a) Illustration of the uncertainty propagation using the GUM method to determine the uncertainty in the aerodynamic calibration of the 7S-FRAP probe. (b) Components considered in the calculation of the extended measurement uncertainty of the overall measurement chain.

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Figure 5

Comparison of wind speed profiles measured by UAV and LIDAR profiler

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Figure 6

Plan view of typical flight trajectories of UAV used to measure in the wake of the wind turbine. Symbols Bn and En (where n = 1,2,…,5) denote the start and end waypoints of successive measurement segments.

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Figure 7

Profiles of wind speed measured upstream of the wind turbine at spanwise locations of y/D =± 1.25

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Figure 8

Profiles of wind speed measured downstream of the wind turbine at streamwise locations of x/D = 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3. Profiles are at spanwise locations of (a) y/D = 0 and (b) y/D =− 0.5.

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Figure 9

Profiles of streamwise wind speed measured downstream of the wind turbine at streamwise locations of x/D = 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3. Profiles are at spanwise locations of (a) y/D = 0 and (b) y/D =− 0.5.

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Figure 10

Profiles of in-plane (y-z) wind speed measured downstream of the wind turbine at streamwise locations of x/D = 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3. Profiles are at spanwise locations of (a) y/D = 0 and (b) y/D =− 0.5.

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Figure 11

Streamwise evolution of deficit in hub-height wind speed in the wake. (a) Along centerline (y/D = 0), (b) away from centerline (y/D =− 0.25) and (c) further away from centerline (y/D =− 0.5).

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