Blade-Resolved, Single-Turbine Simulations Under Atmospheric Flow

Michael Sprague, Michael Lawson, Shreyas Ananthan, Kenny Gruchalla, Jonathan Rood, Jeremy Melvin

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The ultimate goal of the ExaWind project is to enable scientific discovery through predictive simulations of wind farms comprised of many megawatt-scale turbines situated in complex terrain. Predictive simulations will require computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations for which the mesh resolves the geometry of the turbines and captures the rotation and large deflections of blades. Whereas such simulations for a single turbine are arguably petascale class, multi-turbine wind farm simulations will require exascale-class resources. The objective of this milestone is to demonstrate a 'production run' of a megawatt-scale turbine to exercise and demonstrate the turbine simulation capabilities that have been developed during the previous two years of the ExaWind project. Demonstrating this simulation capability is the critical first step in enabling Nalu-Wind to be used as a predictive modeling tool that can advance the scientific understanding of wind turbine performance. In Section 2, the milestone description is provided. Next, in Section 3, we present the NREL 5-megawatt (MW) reference turbine that was used to demonstrate Nalu-Wind's capabilities and describe the four computational meshes that were generated. In Section 4, we present results from simulations of the turbine operating under uniform inflow and homogeneous isotropic turbulence (HIT) conditions. Finally, in Section 5, notable achievements, conclusions, and a path forward are described.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2019

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-72760


  • analysis
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • reference turbine
  • simulations
  • wind energy


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