Simulation and wake analysis of a single vertical axis wind turbine

Seyed Hossein Hezaveh, Elie R. Bou-Zeid, Mark W. Lohry, Luigi Martinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Because of several design advantages and operational characteristics, particularly in offshore farms, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are being reconsidered as a complementary technology to horizontal axial turbines. However, considerable gaps remain in our understanding of VAWT performance since cross-flow rotor configurations have been significantly less studied than axial turbines. This study examines the wakes of VAWTs and how their evolution is influenced by turbine design parameters. An actuator line model is implemented in an atmospheric boundary layer large eddy simulation code, with offline coupling to a high-resolution blade-scale unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes model. The large eddy simulation captures the turbine-to-farm scale dynamics, while the unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes captures the blade-to-turbine scale flow. The simulation results are found to be in good agreement with three existing experimental datasets. Subsequently, a parametric study of the flow over an isolated VAWT, carried out by varying solidities, height-to-diameter aspect ratios and tip speed ratios, is conducted. The analyses of the wake area and velocity and power deficits yield an improved understanding of the downstream evolution of VAWT wakes, which in turn enables a more informed selection of turbine designs for wind farms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-730
Number of pages18
JournalWind Energy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • actuator line model
  • large eddy simulation
  • vertical axis wind turbine
  • wakes
  • wind energy


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