Wind Turbine CFD from A to Z (Complete course) using ANSYS

Wind Turbine CFD from A to Z (Complete course) using ANSYS. ANSYS is a powerful and versatile software used in the fields of structural analysis, CFD, and thermal engineering. In this course, we will use ANSYS to study the behavior of wind turbines. We will start by learning about the basic concepts of wind turbines and how they work. We will then use ANSYS to study the flow around a wind turbine blade, including the effects of airfoil shape and Reynolds number. Finally, we will use ANSYS to study how turbulence affects wind turbine performance.

In this course, you will learn how to use these programs to conduct CFD analysis of Wind Turbine designs. First, you will learn about the different components of a Wind Turbine and how they work together to generate power. Then, you will use SolidWorks to create a 3D model of the Wind Turbine’s design. Next, you will use ICEM CFD to simulate the flow of air around the Wind Turbine design. Finally, you will use Fluent to compare your simulated results with actual data from a Wind Turbine test rig.

Wind Turbine CFD from A to Z (Complete course) using ANSYS

In this course, you will learn to conduct a CFD analysis of the NREL Phase VI wind turbine. You will learn everything from scratch and use only basic data (NREL phase VI report, document number 29955. pdf) available on the NREL websites such as airfoil coordinates, twist angle, and chord length along with radial stations and torque values for different wind speeds. In this course you will use Solidworks to create a CAD model of the NREL phase VI wind turbine, ANSYS Spaceclaim to create inner and outer domains, ICEM CFD for hybrid mesh for both domains,s and Fluent for solution and post-processing. And finally, you will compare present CFD results with experimental data provided by NREL.

This is the horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) whose data is released by the national renewable energy laboratory (NREL) and used extensively for CFD validation studies on wind turbines by researchers.

In this course, we are going to use the H-configuration of the NREL phase VI wind turbine which has 3 deg tip pitch angle (also known as global pitch angle). We have used H-configuration because it is the most commonly used case by many researchers in the CFD community in general and the wind turbine community in particular. Therefore you can find plenty of CFD analysis data in research papers on this configuration which makes this course even more useful to a large audience. 

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By using basic data available in the report (mentioned above), you will follow the following steps:

  1. CAD modeling in Solidworks (SW) by following steps:
    • Downloading s809 airfoil coordinates from the website or using provided files in data/txt or excel format (the full procedure is given).
    • Opening SW and making settings so that we can read airfoil coordinates in three dimensions (scan to 3D).
    • Setting the preferred units for the wind turbine model. 
    • Importing s809 airfoil coordinates into SW and creating a base profile from these coordinates (3D sketch). And this base profile will be drawn on the base plan at zero radial location. You will also create a blunt trailing edge which will make it easier to make the high-quality mesh moreover in the actual NREL phase VI wind turbine blade, the trailing edge is blunt/square.
    • We will then create 21 planes for the wind turbine blade (from 25% span to 100% span) as per the given design data sheet in NREL report no. 29955 and project base profile on these 21 planes.
    • After that provide the required twist angle and chord length to these 21 profiles again as per design specifications given in the NREL report.
    • Use the loft command to create the blade solid from these 21 profiles. Please note that 25%-100% (75% span) is covered by S809 airfoil as mentioned in the report and we have also done exactly the same.
    • Now create two more lofts as per the given data.
    • Save this model in the SW model and we will import it into Spaceclaim for further processing.
  2. Creating Inner and outer domains in Spaceclaim (SC)
    • Import NREL phase VI wind turbine cad model in SW format into SC
    • Set the origin of the base of a wind turbine at 0,0, 0.508, while 0.508 is the radial coordinate of the wind turbine blade.
    • Provide a global pitch angle (blade tip angle) of 3 degrees to the wind turbine blade. 
    • Use the move command with the pattern option to create two blades from one blade.
    • Create a sketch for the hub and use the pull command to make a 3D solid body for the hub with a little higher radius than the 0.508 m (the endpoint of the wind turbine blade with support)
    • Join two blades and a hub to form a single solid body of wind turbine model using the combine option.
    • Create an inner domain and subtract wind turbine solid from it so that can only fluid zone where the flow can flow over the wind turbine’s outer surfaces.
    • Also, create the outer domain with given dimensions as shown in course videos and subtract the inner domain from it.
    • As an optional exercise, we will make a half periodic model (180 deg) which can give you the same results as full 360 models and requires half computational resources. But we will not continue with this model and we will use the full 360 deg model in the coming sections.
  3. Creating tetra prism mesh for an inner domain in ICEM CFD
    • Importing inner domain SC file (scdoc) into fluent
    • Setting up topo tolerance and tri tolerance for the model. And run build topology.
    • Set sizes on different surfaces as per requirements
    • Set global mesh size
    • Create mesh using the Octree algorithm and delete volume mesh. Smooth surfaces mesh up to the required quality.
    • Create a density box for mesh refinement in the wake region behind wind turbine blades.
    • Create volume mesh using the Delaunay algorithm.
    • Set prism mesh parameters and choose a wind turbine from the parts list for the creation of prism layers on it.
    • Compute prism mesh with 5-7 layers initially and then crate more layers from the Edit mesh menu by splitting each layer into 3 and thereby making 15-21 prism layers for boundary layer capturing.
    • Redistribute prism mesh so that we can get prism mesh in proper order.
    • Smooth volume mesh with prism elements, but this time with much care.
    • Check mesh quality and improve if it is low or negative.
    • Select Fluent as a solver and set proper boundary conditions.
    • Export mesh into Fluent format (.msh)
  4. Creating tetra mesh for the outer domain in ICEM CFD
    • Import outer domain SpaceClaim file into ICEM CFD
    • Set topo and tri tolerance and run build topology.
    • Set surface sizes on different parts
    • Create volume mesh using the Octree algorithm
    • Delete volume mesh and keep the surface mesh
    • Smooth surface up to the required quality or maximum quality ICEMCFD can give you
    • Create density box for wake region capturing
    • Create volume mesh using the Delaunay method
    • Smooth surface and volume mesh
    • Check mesh quality and if needed improve mesh quality.
    • Set solver as Fluent, provide appropriate boundary types, and export mesh in Fluent (.msh) format.
  5. Problem setup and solution in Fluent. And also compare CFD with experimental data.
    • Start Fluent with single-core
    • Import both mesh i.e. inner and outer domain into Fluent using Read Mesh and Append command.
    • Make four partitions manually and save the file case file with both meshes. Close Fluent
    • Open a new Fluent session with four cores and read the saved case file into Fluent with four cores.
    • Set turbulence model, cell zone condition with given rpm of 72 using frame motion and boundary conditions such as inlet velocity of 7 m/s and 10 m/s.
    • Set solver with coupled option and use settings shown in the video carefully.
    • Autosave data file after every 50 iterations
    • Set solution monitors for torque (file, plot, and consol)
    • Initialize the solution and run the solver. Follow the video for more details.
    • Post-process results
    • Compare torque, power, and Cp from CFD with experimental data from NREL
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You will also get one pdf file for the explanation of renewable energy and wind turbine energy. Go through it so that you can understand the different concepts and formulas used in this course.

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