Principal investigator: Azar Eslam Panah

University: Penn State Berks

Industry partner: Harmony Turbines

Vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are being reconsidered as a complementary technology to the more widely used horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) due to their unique suitability and minimized land area. Moreover, experiments have confirmed that VAWTs can interact synergistically to enhance the total power density when placed in close proximity. In this project, we use experimental methods to test Harmony Turbines’ farm configurations that exploit these synergistic interactions. We will first design clusters of turbines to find the best configuration and optimize the distance between the clustered turbines for different furling capacity, wind velocity, and wind direction. Then, we will configure farms based on clusters, rather than individual turbines, to investigate the effect of inter-turbine spacing relative to their diameter (L/D) on flow field and power performance. We have recruited Penn State Berks students for this research: two undergraduate students will conduct the experiments and a graduate student will perform data analysis and post-processing. The test platform will be designed and fabricated by a group of four undergraduate students enrolled in Penn State Berks’ Electro-Mechanical Engineering program as part of their capstone project during the summer 2022 and fall 2022 semesters. Harmony Turbines engineers will regularly travel to the Penn State Berks campus to supervise the experiments and make recommendations for the next steps.