Variable-sized wind turbines are a possibility for wind farm optimization



The potential benefits associated with harnessing available momentum and reducing turbulence levels in a wind farm composed of wind turbines of alternating size are investigated through wind tunnel experiments. A variable size turbine array composed of 3 by 8 model wind turbines is placed in a boundary layer flow developed over both a smooth and rough surfaces under neutrally stratified thermal conditions. Cross-wire anemometry is used to capture high resolution and simultaneous measurements of the streamwise and vertical velocity components at various locations along the central plane of the wind farm. A laser tachometer is employed to obtain the instantaneous angular velocity of various turbines. The results suggest that wind turbine size heterogeneity in a wind farm introduces distinctive flow interactions not possible in its homogeneous counterpart. In particular, reduced levels of turbulence around the wind turbine rotors may have positive effects on turbulent loading. The turbines also appear to perform quite uniformly along the entire wind farm, whereas surface roughness impacts the velocity recovery and the spectral content of the turbulent flow within the wind farm. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.