Experiments on upstream induction and wake flow for multirotor wind turbines
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Multirotor wind turbine concepts are increasingly discussed as cost-effective alternatives for floating wind energy installations. When multiple smaller rotors are installed next to each other, the individual rotors experience local blockage from their neighbours. Depending on the rotor arrangement, the flow through and around the multirotors will differ leading to a local variation in axial forcing and power output on the individual rotors. In this lab-scale experiment, we investigate how the spacing between the single rotors in a multirotor of seven actuator discs affects the upstream flow, thrust force distribution and downstream wake flow. Reducing the inter-rotor spacing is observed to cause larger zones of upstream velocity reductions, both in streamwise and lateral direction. Consequently, the difference in thrust force between a locally blocked central rotor and the surrounding rotors also increases for smaller rotor spacing. Measurements of the downstream wake flow behind a multirotor model indicate a lower initial velocity deficit compared to a single rotor. Reduced rotor spacing is found to increase the wake's initial velocity deficit and turbulence levels. Consequently, the wake recovers faster, resulting in similar velocity deficits independent of the rotor-spacing in the far wake region.