Sandia uses CACTUS to predict three-dimensional visualization of flow velocities for the region downwind of an operating rotor.
Previous wind turbine rotors have used conventional airfoils and conventional design in which rotor design aims to attain maximum possible aerodynamic efficiency. Sandia has shown how non-conventional approaches may lead to far more effective wind turbine systems, seeking the balance between aerodynamic and structural efficiency. While flatback airfoils are not as aerodynamically efficient, they provide greater structural efficiency. Additionally, less-than-maximum aerodynamic efficiency rotor design may lead to overall lower loads, more effective wind turbine wakes, and increased wind farm output even at lower turbine loads.
Sandia uses high-efficiency numerical methods–such as Blade Element Momentum Theory (BEMT)–as well as high-fidelity numerical methods—such as vortex methods like CACTUS, Reduced Order Navier Stokes (RANS) and Large Eddy Simulation methods–to conduct innovative rotor design.
Recently, Sandia has begun to incorporate wake recovery characteristics into rotor design to enable rotors which may enable closer turbine spacing for more effective use of available land area.
Two-dimensional airfoil velocities created using Overflow