The simulation of very small vertical axis wind turbines is often a complex task due to the very low Reynolds number effects and the strong unsteadiness related to the rotor operation. Moreover, the high boundary layer instabilities, which affect these turbines, strongly limits their efficiency compared to micro horizontal axis wind turbines. However, as the scientific interest toward micro wind turbine power generation is growing for powering small stand-alone devices, Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs)might be very suitable for this kind of application as well. Furthermore, micro wind turbines are widely used for wind tunnel testing, as the wind tunnel dimensions are usually quite limited. In order to obtain a better comprehension of the fluid dynamics of such micro rotors, in the present paper the authors demonstrate how to develop an accurate CFD 2D model of a micro H-Darrieus wind turbine, inherently characterized by highly unstable operating conditions. The rotor was tested in the subsonic wind tunnel, owned by the University of Catania, in order to obtain the experimental validation of the numerical model. The modeling methodology was developed by means of an accurate grid and time step sensitivity study and by comparing different approaches for the turbulence closure. The hybrid LES/RANS Delayed Detached Eddy Simulation, coupled to a transition model, demonstrated superior accuracy compared to the most advanced unsteady RANS models. Therefore, the CFD 2D model developed in this work allowed for a thorough insight into the unstable fluid dynamic operating conditions of micro VAWTs, leading the way for the performance improvement of such rotors.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited