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Power generation from wind turbines in a solar chimney

Keywords: Small wind turbines, Shrouded turbines, Betz's limit, Solar chimney

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Abstract:

Recent studies have shown that shrouded wind turbines can generate greater power compared to bare turbines. A solar chimney generates an upward draft of wind inside a tower and a shroud around the wind turbine. There are numerous empty silos on farms in the U.S. that can be converted to solar chimneys with minor modifications at modest cost. The objective of this study is to determine the potential of these silos/chimneys for generating wind power. The study is conducted through analytical/computational approach by employing the commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. Computations are performed for five different geometric configurations consisting of a turbine, a cylindrical silo, and/or a venturi and/or a diffuser using the dimensions of typical silos and assuming Class 3 wind velocity. The incompressible Navier-Stokes equations with the Boussinesq approximation and a two equation realizable k – ε model are employed in the calculations, and the turbine is modeled as an actuator disk. The power coefficient (Cp) and generated power are calculated for the five cases. Consistent with recent literature, it was found that the silos with diffusers increase the Cp beyond Betz’s limit significantly and thus the generated power. It should be noted that Cp is calculated by normalizing it by the turbine area swept by the wind. This study shows the potential of using abandoned silos in the mid-west and other parts of the country for localized wind power generation.

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