Changing the Rotational Direction of a Wind Turbine under Veering Inflow: A Parameter Study

Antonia Englberger, Julie Lundquist, Andreas Dörnbrack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus Citations


All current-day wind-turbine blades rotate in clockwise direction as seen from an upstream perspective. The choice of the rotational direction impacts the wake if the wind profile changes direction with height. Here, we investigate the respective wakes for veering and backing winds in both hemispheres by means of large-eddy simulations. We quantify the sensitivity of the wake to the strength of the wind veer, the wind speed, and the rotational frequency of the rotor in the Northern Hemisphere. A veering wind in combination with counterclockwise-rotating blades results in a larger streamwise velocity output, a larger spanwise wake width, and a larger wake deflection angle at the same downwind distance in comparison to a clockwise-rotating turbine in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the same wake characteristics occur if the turbine rotates counterclockwise. These downwind differences in the wake result from the amplification or weakening or reversion of the spanwise wind component due to the effect of the superimposed vortex of the rotor rotation on the inflow's shear. An increase in the directional shear or the rotational frequency of the rotor under veering wind conditions increases the difference in the spanwise wake width and the wake deflection angle between clockwise- and counterclockwise-rotating actuators, whereas the wind speed lacks a significant impact.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1623-1644
Number of pages22
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-75720


  • large-eddy simulation
  • wakes
  • wind energy
  • wind turbine


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