Coalescing Wind Turbine Wakes

S. Lee, M. Churchfield, S. Sirnivas, P. Moriarty, F. G. Nielsen, B. Skaare, E. Byklum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


A team of researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Statoil used large-eddy simulations to numerically investigate the merging wakes from upstream offshore wind turbines. Merging wakes are typical phenomena in wind farm flows in which neighboring turbine wakes consolidate to form complex flow patterns that are as yet not well understood. In the present study, three 6-MW turbines in a row were subjected to a neutrally stable atmospheric boundary layer flow. As a result, the wake from the farthest upstream turbine conjoined the downstream wake, which significantly altered the subsequent velocity deficit structures, turbulence intensity, and the global meandering behavior. The complexity increased even more when the combined wakes from the two upstream turbines mixed with the wake generated by the last turbine, thereby forming a "triplet" structure. Although the influence of the wake generated by the first turbine decayed with downstream distance, the mutated wakes from the second turbine continued to influence the downstream wake. Two mirror-image angles of wind directions that yielded partial wakes impinging on the downstream turbines yielded asymmetric wake profiles that could be attributed to the changing flow directions in the rotor plane induced by the Coriolis force. The turbine wakes persisted for extended distances in the present study, which is a result of low aerodynamic surface roughness typically found in offshore conditions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number012023
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 Jun 2015
Event4th Wake Conference 2015 - Visby, Sweden
Duration: 9 Jun 201511 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-64325


  • wakes
  • wind turbine


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