In the present paper, an innovative and cost-effective open test rig for small and medium wind turbines is proposed. The main aim is to develop a valid alternative to wind tunnels, which present unresolved problems such as the unmatched Reynolds numbers for downscaled wind turbine tests. The proposed test bench concept is an open field, subsonic facility for horizontal and vertical axis wind turbines. The core of the test bench is a cluster of axial fans, positioned at a given height from the ground, which generate an air flow suitable for testing a wind turbine placed in front of the fans. The present work aims at investigating the feasibility of this novel concept of test rig for small wind turbines having a rotor diameter smaller than 5 m. A thorough CFD analysis is performed in this paper in order to assess the characteristics of the wind generated by the fans in terms of uniformity and intensity, even in case of atmospheric disturbances. The developed CFD modelling is also instrumental in both determining the maximum rotor diameter that can be tested and selecting the correct position for a wind turbine in the proposed open test rig.
Amirante, R., De Palma, P., Distaso, E., La Scala, M., & Tamburrano, P. (2017). Design of a novel open space test rig for small scale wind turbine. In Energy Procedia (Vol. 126, pp. 628–635). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2017.08.249