On the structure of turbulence in wind turbine wakes: Insights gained by high-fidelity numerical simulations

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Wind energy has the capacity to become a disruptive renewable energy technology that can dominate the world’s electric energy production portfolio. Realizing this goal, however, necessitates broadening the focus of research from the individual turbine to integrated, interconnected multi-turbine wind parks. In this talk I will discuss the challenges and opportunities for high-fidelity modeling as a powerful tool for enabling wind-farm optimization. I will introduce the University of Minnesota Virtual Wind Simulator (VWiS), a high-fidelity, multi-resolution, fluid-structure interaction computational framework for carrying out large-eddy simulation of atmospheric turbulence past land-based and offshore wind-farms in arbitrarily complex terrains. I will also discuss laboratory and field-scale experiments for validating the computational models and present a number of examples illustrating the ability of high-fidelity simulations to uncover complex flow patterns and yield novel physical insights into the structure of wind turbine wakes.

Fotis Sotiropoulos, University of Minnesota
Bowen Hall
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Room 222
Friday, April 10, 2015 - 3:30pm
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Speaker Bio

Fotis Sotiropoulos is the James L. Record Professor of Civil Engineering and the director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is also the director of the DOE-funded University of Minnesota EOLOS Wind Energy Research consortium. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota he was on the faculty of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. His research is aimed at developing advanced computational techniques for tackling a wide range of interdisciplinary fluid mechanics problems in renewable energy, environmental, biological, and cardiovascular applications. Sotiropoulos has authored over 140 peer reviewed journal papers and book chapters. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the Sandia National Laboratories, and the private industry. Sotiropoulos is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), he has won twice the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion (2009, 2011), and is a recipient of a Career award from the US National Science Foundation. He is also a 2014 distinguished lecturer of the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies at Tel Aviv University. He is serving on the editorial boards of the ASCE Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, the International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, and Computers and Fluids and Energies.