One of the main challenges of urban wind energy harvesting is the understanding of the flow characteristics where urban wind turbines are to be installed. Among viable locations within the urban environment, high-rise buildings are particularly promising due to the elevated height and relatively undisturbed wind conditions. Most research studies on high-rise buildings deal with the calculation of the wind loads in terms of surface pressure. In the present paper, flow pattern characteristics are investigated for a typical high-rise building in a variety of configurations and wind directions in wind tunnel tests. The aim is to improve the understanding of the wind energy resource in the built environment and give designers meaningful data on the positioning strategy of wind turbines to improve performance. In addition, the study provides suitable and realistic turbulence characteristics to be reproduced in physical or numerical simulations of urban wind turbines for several locations above the roof region of the building. The study showed that at a height of 10 m from the roof surface, the flow resembles atmospheric turbulence with an enhanced turbulence intensity above 10% combined with large length scales of about 200 m. Results also showed that high-rise buildings in clusters might provide a very suitable configuration for the installation of urban wind turbines, although there is a strong difference between the performance of a wind turbine installed at the centre of the roof and one installed on the leeward and windward corners or edges, depending on the wind direction.
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