Wind energy

The following are some of the projects that we can offer:

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Numerical evaluation of wind around buildings

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham

Computational Wind Engineering has been developed rapidly over the last decades. Among the numerical techniques, Large Eddy Simulation (LES) is capable of simulating complex unsteady turbulent flows, which is very useful for applications such as wind-induced noise/vibrations predictions around buildings and structures and for wind turbine sitings around buildings. This project will investigate the wind flow structures around buildings and their interaction with turbulent atmospheric boundary layer flows using a combined RANS and LES techniques.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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CFD Study of Wind Turbine Aerodynamics

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham

Wind turbine is the main technology that converts wind energy to electricity. The interaction between air flow and the turbine blade are critical to the structure integrity and noise generation of the turbine. The proposed research will focus on modeling and optimization of aerodynamic flow over a turbine blade in order to decrease the drag, and control noise generation and flow separation. Advanced computational fluid dynamics and structure analysis software will be employed with supplementary experimental investigations.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Aerodynamic optimization of wind farms

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham

Wind farms, as a main technology to convert wind energy into electricity faces challenges in improving its efficiency and reducing costs. Aerodynamically, the overall performance of a wind farm is significantly influenced by the wind conditions and the arrangement of the wind turbines. The proposed research will focus on the aerodynamic design of the wind farm to reduce the turbine wake effects and maximize the wind farm power output. Advanced mathematical and computational fluid dynamics modeling techniques will be employed with supplementary experimental investigations. Strategies on wind and hydro power integration for energy storage will also be investigated. The research will improve our knowledge of wind farm aerodynamics and develop a predictive tool for large scale wind farm optimization.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Advanced Wind Turbine Technology for Urban Environments

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham

Wind is one of the main renewable energy sources in the world and wind turbines are the main technology that converts wind energy to electricity. The proposed research will focus on the design of a new generation of small sized wind turbines. One of the key areas that will be investigated is the characteristics of the aerodynamics of the turbine blades which have a significant impact on the efficiency of power generation, the level of noise produced and the durability of the wind turbine. Advanced computational fluid dynamics and mathematical modeling and design technology will be developed together with supplementary experimental investigations to analyze and improve the overall performances of the wind turbine. The work will be part of a team effort in the wind energy research at Leeds.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Advanced Wind Turbine Control Systems

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham

Wind turbine control is necessary to ensure low maintenance costs and efficient performance. The control system also guarantees safe operation, optimizes power output, and ensures long structural life. Turbine rotational speed and the generator speed are two key areas that you must control for power limitation and optimization. This project will focus on the control strategies/techniques for wind turbine control systems of small vertical axis wind turbines for the built environment in urban, suburban and remote areas. The work will be built on and closely linked to existing research on the aerodynamics of the wind turbines. Advanced computational fluid dynamics modeling techniques will be employed to analyse the aerodynamic response of the turbine to give critical feedback to the control system. Experimental tests will be part of the investigation. Accurate simulation capability and tools will be developed in order to predict, and subsequently optimize, the performance of the wind turbine.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Computational analysis of the flow through aerofoil cascades

Supervisor: Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Lin Ma, Professor Derek Ingham

One of the major global concerns is the environmental pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, and there is a growing awareness of the impact of emission from the shipping industry using fossil fuel as a power source. Utilizing wind energy over the sea to offset fossil fuel consumption in ships has attracted more and more interest. One of the emerging technologies is to employ a set of ridged sail to power the ship. This project aims to use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to analyse and optimise the aerodynamics flow over ridged sail cascades.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham

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Adjoint based optimization of vertical axis wind turbines

Supervisor: Professor Lin Ma, Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Derek B Ingham and Dr Ava Shahrokhi
Recently vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) have been more installed in urban areas than before. They are known to perform better in urban regions compared to horizontal axis wind turbines as they do not require alignment to the oncoming flow. However, these turbines are not aerodynamically efficient. This PhD thesis involves a precise design optimization based on adjoint techniques applied to the design of the vertical axis wind turbines. Adjoint based optimization techniques are closely related to the fluid Navier-Stokes equations and are technically the most efficient and accurate optimization methods applied to CFD problems.

Depending on the student’s background on CFD, the general steps of the project steps are as follows: (i) Getting familiar with the CFD simulation of the VAWTs, (ii) Getting familiar with discrete and continuous adjoint based methods, (iii) Defining the case study, (iv) CFD simulation, and (iv) Optimization.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham on d.ingham@sheffield.ac.uk.

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Large Eddy Simulation Around Buildings (LES)

Supervisor: Professor Lin Ma, Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Derek B Ingham and Dr Ava Shahrokhi
Computational Wind Engineering has been developing rapidly over the last couple of decades. Among the numerical techniques, Large Eddy Simulation (LES) is capable of simulating complex unsteady turbulent flows, which is very useful for applications such as wind-induced noise/vibrations around buildings and structures. LES is among the top-notch and the most challenging CFD techniques. This project has three major parts.

1) Large eddy simulation using different subgrid-scale models.
2) Boundary condition studies: The correct top and bottom boundary condition that help to maintain the turbulence properties in the domain and also the use of the correct turbulence inlet properties and implementation.
3) Inflow generation: In order to implement LES around building, it is very important to simulate the wind effects correctly. This requires that the fluctuations of the flow to be initialized properly so that they can represent the wind in the computational domain. The main contribution of this project will be this last part which is also a very challenging part.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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Adjoint based optimization of vertical axis wind turbines

Supervisor: Professor Lin Ma, Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Derek B Ingham and Dr Ava Shahrokhi

Recently vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) have been more installed in urban areas than before. They are known to perform better in urban regions compared to horizontal axis wind turbines as they do not require alignment to the oncoming flow. However, these turbines are not aerodynamically efficient. This PhD thesis involves a precise design optimization based on adjoint techniques applied to the design of the vertical axis wind turbines. Adjoint based optimization techniques are closely related to the fluid Navier-Stokes equations and are technically the most efficient and accurate optimization methods applied to CFD problems.

Depending on the student’s background on CFD, the general steps of the project steps are as follows: (i) Getting familiar with the CFD simulation of the VAWTs, (ii) Getting familiar with discrete and continuous adjoint based methods, (iii) Defining the case study, (iv) CFD simulation, and (iv) Optimization.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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Large Eddy Simulation Around Buildings (LES)

Supervisor: Professor Lin Ma, Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Derek B Ingham and Dr Ava Shahrokhi

Computational Wind Engineering has been developing rapidly over the last couple of decades. Among the numerical techniques, Large Eddy Simulation (LES) is capable of simulating complex unsteady turbulent flows, which is very useful for applications such as wind-induced noise/vibrations around buildings and structures. LES is among the top-notch and the most challenging CFD techniques. This project has three major parts.

1) Large eddy simulation using different subgrid-scale models.
2) Boundary condition studies: The correct top and bottom boundary condition that help to maintain the turbulence properties in the domain and also the use of the correct turbulence inlet properties and implementation.
3) Inflow generation: In order to implement LES around building, it is very important to simulate the wind effects correctly. This requires that the fluctuations of the flow to be initialized properly so that they can represent the wind in the computational domain. The main contribution of this project will be this last part which is also a very challenging part.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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Inflow generation for Large Eddy Simulation (LES) of the wind farms

Supervisor: Professor Lin Ma, Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, Professor Derek B Ingham and Dr Ava Shahrokhi

Wind farms are large regions usually outside cities and include a number of wind turbines. An accurate simulation of the flow in the wind farm is essential in the design of the wind farm. This project concerns the turbulent inflow generation for large eddy simulation of the wind flow at wind farms. Inflow generation techniques are among the top notch research topics in the wind engineering field. This instantaneous value of the velocity components consists of their mean and fluctuating values. This information is not known a priori, so it has to be evaluated in an accurate way. Currently, there are two main techniques for this purpose, the recycling (precursor) methods and synthetic methods. The first method is computationally very time consuming while the second method is not accurate for turbulent wind simulations. Therefore, this project will concern an alternative solution for inflow generation which can replace either of these techniques.

This project, requires a good understanding of CFD and during the work includes simulations using ANSYS/FLUENT.

For further information please contact Professor Derek B Ingham.

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Investigation of white etching crack damage mechanism in wind turbine gearbox bearings

Supervisor: Dr Hui Long

Modern wind turbine gearbox bearings are failing prematurely, by white structure flaking and axial cracking, which may be caused by the propagation of subsurface white etching cracks (WECs). Their damage mechanism is currently not well understood; one hypothesis for WEC formation is that they initiate at subsurface defects, such as non-metallic inclusions.

This project will develop Rolling Contact Fatigue (RCF) testing programme of bearing steel samples to investigate effects of some key factors, including high contact pressure, impact loading, surface slip and their interactions with subsurface non-metallic inclusions, on WEC initiation and propagation. Damage characterisation on samples of field return bearings will be conducted by destructively sectioning and microstructural observation using optical microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The damage characterisation will support the development of RCF testing programme to recreate WECs under controlled lab test conditions. The testing methodology and understanding obtained through this project will reach conclusions to verify the hypothesis of subsurface defect initiated WEC damage and its failure mechanism.

For further information please contact Dr Hui Long

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Damage characterisation and root cause analysis of wind turbine pitch bearings

Supervisor: Dr Hui Long

Blade pitch bearings of large scale wind turbines control the individual blades in order to maximise power generation at low wind speeds and to prevent turbine damages under high winds. The reliability of blade pitch bearings is of critical importance to operation and energy production, especially for offshore wind turbines as any blade pitch bearing failures and replacements can be extremely costly.

This project will carry out a thorough failure investigation and root cause analysis of pitch bearings of a multi-megawatt scale wind turbine by metallurgical investigation and computational modelling. A failed pitch bearing raceway will be destructively investigated to characterise the surface and subsurface damages using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), to identify typical bearing failure modes and to interpret their root causes. Finite Element modelling of bearing raceway and ball contacts will be developed to investigate contact pressure variations and raceway deformation during typical operation conditions of turbine blades. The understanding of pitch bearing failure modes and root causes obtained in this project will lead to new design technologies of pitch bearings for future offshore wind turbines.

For further information please contact Dr Hui Long

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