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An ideal limit for the performance of large wind farms

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A Winton teatime discussion hosted by Dr Paolo Luzzatto-Fegiz, junior Research Fellow based at DAMTP , where he works on the aerodynamics of large wind farms. In July, he will join the Mechanical Engineering department at UC Santa Barbara, where he will lead the newly formed Laboratory for Fluid Energy Science.

Abstract: The power output of wind farms is limited by wind shadowing effects between turbines, which can lead to drastic performance losses. Reducing such losses is the subject of extensive research; however, there is currently no theory yielding an upper bound on the amount of power that can be extracted by a turbine array. Establishing such a bound is of key importance; if current wind farms are already close to this limit, further research may not be cost-effective. We build a model describing a large array of turbines with arbitrary design and layout, finding a theoretical limit that is an order of magnitude higher than the output of current wind farms. Our theory also indicates that farm output is primarily affected by the large-scale flow features over the array, rather than by individual turbine performance, and therefore suggests a strategy for pursuing substantial array improvements.

This talk is part of the Winton Discussions series.

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