Modeling Wind Turbine Tower and Nacelle Effects within an Actuator Line Model

Matthew Churchfield, Zhixiang Wang, Sven Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

15 Scopus Citations


It is common practice in computing wind plant aerodynamics with computational fluid dynamics to represent the turbine rotors using actuator lines or disks in which body forces are applied to the flow field. It is less common in such work to include the effect of the tower and nacelle. Here we examine ways to include the effect of the tower and nacelle in a body-force setting without having to explicitly resolve them using complex geometry- conforming meshes. We feel that including their effect is certainly important in better predicting the near wake, and may be of importance in the far wake. Recent research by others suggests that the nacelle wake causes interactions with the rotor wake that affect the meandering behavior of the rotor wake far downstream, and properly capturing meandering is important to computing both unsteady power and mechanical loads in a wind plant. We present different body force tower and nacelle representations of incremental complexity. We then apply these methods to two different wind turbine cases, one with emphasis on the wake, and the other with emphasis on blade loads. We show that these methods are relatively easy to implement and are capable of capturing the gross effects of towers and nacelles.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2015
Event33rd Wind Energy Symposium 2015 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: 5 Jan 20159 Jan 2015


Conference33rd Wind Energy Symposium 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-64962


  • nacelle
  • wind power
  • wind turbine


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