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Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

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Aerodynamic performance prediction of a 30 kW


counter-rotating wind turbine system*
Sung Nam Jung*, Tae-Soo No, Ki-Wahn Ryu
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Chonbuk National University, Dukjin-ku, Jeonju 561-756, South Korea
Received 13 May 2004; accepted 13 July 2004
Available online 18 September 2004

Abstract
In the present work, the aerodynamic performance prediction of a unique 30 kW counter-rotating
(C/R) wind turbine system, which consists of the main rotor and the auxiliary rotor, has been
investigated by using the quasi-steady strip theory. The near wake behavior of the auxiliary rotor
that is located upwind of the main rotor is taken into consideration in the performance analysis of
the turbine system by using the wind tunnel test data obtained for scaled model rotors. The relative
size and the optimum placement of the two rotors are investigated through use of the momentum
theory combined with the experimental wake model. In addition, the performance prediction
results along with the full-scale field test data obtained for C/R wind turbine system are compared
with those of the conventional single rotor system and demonstrated the effectiveness of the current
C/R turbine system.
q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Aerodynamic performance; Counter-rotating wind turbines; Quasi-steady strip theory; Near wake
behavior; Experimental wake model; Full-scale field test

1. Introduction

Wind turbines convert kinetic energy contained in the wind into mechanical energy and
readily into the electric power. Due to the environmentally friendly nature of the wind

*
Based on the paper presented at the first World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition, Berlin, Germany,
July 26, 2002.
* Corresponding author. Tel.: C82 63 270 2469; fax: C82 63 270 2472.
E-mail address: snjung@chonbuk.ac.kr (S.N. Jung).

0960-1481/$ - see front matter q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.renene.2004.07.005
632 S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

Fig. 1. Schematic of bevel-planetary gear system.

energy, they attracted a lot of attention in associated fields and many different concepts
devised during the last century [1]. Recently, a new and unique counter-rotating (C/R)
wind turbine system [2], which combines the conventional horizontal axis wind turbine
(HAWT) system and the vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) system by use of patented
bevel-planetary gear arrangements (Fig. 1), has successfully been installed and under
operation at a western coastal site in the Korean peninsula. Fig. 2 shows the photo of the
30 kW C/R wind turbine system. The C/R system consists of two separate rotors: the main
rotor and the auxiliary rotor. The main rotor is characterized by a counter-clockwise
rotation and downwind location while the auxiliary rotor is characterized by a clockwise
rotation and upwind location. The inner 30% portion of the main rotor is treated as dead
zone, which plays less significant role in generating torque due to the low sweeping speed
in this region of the blade and is replaced with an extension bar that connects the blade into
the rotor hub. The auxiliary rotor, which has one-half of the main rotor diameter, is used to
compensate for the dead zone in the main rotor area and also to generate additional torque
S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644 633

Fig. 2. A 30 kW counter-rotating wind turbine system.

by itself. Table 1 summarizes the geometries and properties of the 30 kW C/R wind
turbine system.
Glauert [3] developed a simple analytical model for the aerodynamic performance
prediction of wind turbines by applying the actuator disk concept. Wilson [4] extended
Glauerts work and combined the actuator disk model to the blade element strip theory for
the aerodynamic behavior of conventional horizontal- and vertical-axis wind turbines.
Table 1
Properties of 30 kW counter-rotating wind turbine system

Main rotor (M/R) Auxiliary rotor (A/R)


No. of blades 3 3
Rotor diameter 11 m 5.5 m
Rotor position Downwind Upwind
Airfoil NACA 0012 NACA 4415
Built-in twist (8) K2 0
Rotor RPM 150 300
Blade materials Glass/epoxy Glass/epoxy
Rotation Counter-clockwise Clockwise
Pitch control Variable Variable
634 S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

Besides the basic theoretical work, a lot of research has also been devoted to identify the
near wake behavior of wind turbines [5,6]. Magnusson [5] studied the flow downstream of
wind turbines by using the momentum theory and the blade element theory and compared
the numerical results with full-scale measurement data obtained from a wind farm located
in Sweden. The wake effects were found to be significant even at a downstream distance of
five diameters. Neff and Meroney [6] conducted a series of wind tunnel experiments to
investigate the three-dimensional wind characteristics near a spinning rotor under various
flow conditions. The test data include axial, rotational and radial wind velocities taken at
58 spatial locations upwind, downwind and to the side of the rotor.
In a structural point of view, the C/R turbine system presents some structural
complexities due to the existence of the additional rotors in comparison with the
conventional single-rotor type. However, the system represents many superior
characteristics, especially in an aerodynamic viewpoint, over the conventional single
rotor system in that: (a) higher aerodynamic efficiency is attainable with the
introduction of a smaller auxiliary rotor placed upwind of the main rotor; (b) free
yaw characteristic is possible due to a drastic reduction of the nacelle weight by placing
the heavy generator system into the non-rotating region; (c) smaller gear ratio is needed
because of higher tip speeds achieved by smaller blade length in comparison with the
conventional system in case of the same power output. It is hoped that these beneficial
effects can lead to fabrication and operation of a cost effective and high efficiency wind
turbine system.
The objectives of the present work are: to construct an analysis method for the
aerodynamic performance of the C/R wind turbine system; to validate the analysis results
with full-scale test data and also to demonstrate the effectiveness of the C/R wind turbine
system over the conventional system.

2. Theory

2.1. Assumptions

(1) The incoming air approaching the wind turbine is sufficiently uniform over the disk
plane so that the wind tunnel test data obtained for the wake characteristic near the
rotor can be used.
(2) There is no aerodynamic interference effect between the main rotor and the auxiliary
rotor.

2.2. Rotor torque and power

The wind turbine system generates electric power by using the kinetic energy of the
incoming airflow. As is well known, the stream tube expands when the airflow passes
through the rotor disk and the wake rotates in the opposite direction of the motion of
the blade [4]. Fig. 3 shows the geometry of the stream tube through the disk.
Neglecting fluid drags, the power extracted from the air stream can be written in
S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644 635

Fig. 3. Geometry of a stream tube.

the following form as:


1
P Z rAVV0 C V1 V0 K V1 (1)
2
where r is the air density, A, disk area and V, V0 and V1 are the flow velocity
components along the axis of the stream tube and each of them is denoted in Fig. 3.
The power coefficient is obtained by non-dimensionalizing the above power
equation as:
P
CP Z Z 4a1 K a2 (2)
0:5rV03 A

where a is the axial induction factor.


The rotor thrust and torque can be calculated by employing the blade element theory
based on the Glauerts actuator disk concept [3]. Fig. 4 shows the geometry and the
aerodynamic forces acting on the section of the blade. The geometric pitch of the blade is

Fig. 4. Blade section aerodynamics.


636 S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

given as:
q Z f Ka (3)
where f is the induced inflow angle and a is the angle of attack of the section of the blade.
Considering the geometry shown in Fig. 4, the induced angle can be expressed in the
following form
 
1 Ka
f Z tanK1 (4)
lr 1 C a 0
where lr and a 0 are the induced inflow ratio and the rotational induction, respectively,
and are written as:
Ur 1 K 3a
lr Z a0 Z (5)
V0 4a K 1
where r is an arbitrary location of the blade in the spanwise direction. The relative air
velocity can be written in terms of induction factors and also inflow ratios as:
q
 
V r Z V0 1 K a2 C l2r 1 C a 0 2 (6)

The aerodynamic forces acting on a small segment of the blade, dr, are obtained by
applying the two-dimensional quasi-steady strip theory and they are written as:
1 1
dL Z rVr2 c drcl dD Z rVr2 c drcd (7)
2 2
where c is the chord length, and cl and cd are the lift and drag coefficients of the blade
section, respectively. The infinitesimal thrust, torque, and power generated over the small
segment of the blade can be obtained from the geometric interpretation of Fig. 4,
dT Z dL cos f C dD sin f dQ Z dL sin f K dD cos fr dP Z U dQ (8)
where U is the rotor speed in RPM. Inserting Eq. (7) into Eq. (8) and integrating
contributions of small segments over the disk, the total thrust: T, torque: Q, and power: P,
are obtained, respectively, as:

N F N F
T Z b rcVr2 cl cos fCcd sin fdr QZ b rcVr2 cl Csin fKcd cos fr dr PZUQ
2 0 2 0
(9)
where Nb is the number of blades and F is the factor accounting for the tip loss effect.

2.3. Rotor wake

Since the auxiliary rotor, which has one-half of the main rotor diameters, is located
upwind of the main rotor, the near wake behavior of the auxiliary rotor is quite important
and should be determined priori in the aerodynamic performance prediction of the
turbine system. The wind tunnel test data obtained by Neff and Meroney [6] are used for
this goal.
S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644 637

Fig. 5. Measured velocity values around the rotor disk [6].

In Fig. 5, the measured data for the axial velocities at various radial locations obtained
by Neff and Meroney [6] are presented for reference purpose. A total of six different
locations ranging from 1/8 to 8/8 rotor diameter, where three points are located inside of
the stream tube and the other threes are located outside of the tube, selected to identify the
flow fields around the rotor disk. In order to clarify the relative position of the test
data, each of the measurement points is displayed in a plane view in Fig. 6. It is noted that,

Fig. 6. Location of measured and calculation points over the disk.


638 S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

as the flow passes through the rotor disk, the stream tube expands similar to the shape
depicted in Fig. 3 and the points in the close vicinity of the rotor radius (4/8 rotor diameter)
remain near the boundary of the stream tube. Thus these points are excluded in the
measurement to avoid ambiguity. As is seen from the test results in Fig. 5, the flow inside
of the stream tube is decelerated significantly (up to 45%) while the flow outside of the
stream tube accelerates in some degree (up to 12%) as expected from the mass continuity
of the flow.
Considering the wind tunnel test data and interpolating these to cover the area twice of
the rotor disk that corresponds to the sweeping area of the main rotor, one can construct the
complete wind velocity profiles near the rotor as presented in Fig. 7. In Fig. 7, the
measured data are denoted as solid circles and the velocity curves are obtained by fitting
these data by using the cubic spline method. The corresponding location of the main rotor
located downwind of the auxiliary rotor as well as the possible boundary of the stream tube
is indicated in Fig. 7. Considering the wind velocity distribution into Eq. (9), the refined
calculation of the rotor torque and power for the main rotor is obtained in light of the wake
behavior of the auxiliary rotor located upwind of the main rotor. It should be noted that

Fig. 7. Reconstructed wind speed profiles along the axial direction.


S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644 639

only the wake behavior of the auxiliary rotor has been considered for the present study and
the interference effects between the two rotors are neglected.

3. Results and discussion

Keeping the flow characteristic approaching and departing the rotor disk in mind, one
may devise high-efficiency, smart wind turbines that extract more energy from the wind
than conventional single-rotor turbines. One of the candidate designs is a dual-rotor
configuration composed of two separate rotors with different dimensions. In this instance,
the relative size as well as the appropriate distance between the two rotors should be
identified for best performance.
Toward this goal, parametric investigations are carried out to determine the relative size
and the optimum placement of the two rotors. In Fig. 8, the effects of the auxiliary rotor
size on the increase of power in a percentage scale are presented. The percentage increase
of power is defined as: ((PKP0)/P0)!100, where P is the power with the aforementioned
experimental wake model and P0 is the power without considering the wake effects.
For convenience, the size of the auxiliary rotor (DAR) is normalized by the main rotor
diameter (DMR). The size of auxiliary rotor is increased from 0 to the full dimension of

Fig. 8. Effect of auxiliary rotor size on the increase of power.


640 S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

the main rotor. It is seen in Fig. 8 that, as the size of auxiliary rotor increases, the power
output becomes increased until the size of the auxiliary rotor reaches at or around 5/8 of
the main rotor diameter. As a matter of fact, there are two contributions for the power
increase of the C/R wind turbine system: one is the flow characteristic and the other is the
rotation of the auxiliary rotor itself. The former is denoted as circles while the latter is
denoted as triangles in Fig. 8. The former can be explained as follows: when the auxiliary
rotor remains well below the scale of main rotor, the enclosed area of the stream tube
formed by the rotation of auxiliary rotor covers only a small portion in the main rotor disk
area. In this region of the main rotor, the flow velocity becomes reduced and thus less
power is obtained. While in the outer region of the stream tube, where occupies much
larger portion in the main rotor disk area, the flow accelerates substantially and this
increased flow velocity will help generating larger torque for the main rotor. But, when the
size of auxiliary rotor increases over a certain limit (e.g. 5/8 of the main rotor diameter),
the overall performance becomes poorer than that without the auxiliary rotor because the
reduced wind speeds affect the system in a larger scale. It is also indicated in Fig. 8 that a
maximum power is obtainable when the size of auxiliary rotor is about one-half of the
main rotor diameter. At this value, the power increase amounts to 20% in comparison with
the baseline single-rotor configuration.
Fig. 9 shows the influence of the interval between the two rotors on the generation of
power. For this calculation, the size of the auxiliary rotor is fixed to one-half of the main

Fig. 9. Effect of the interval on the change of power.


S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644 641

Fig. 10. Geometry and dimension of main rotor and auxiliary rotor.

rotor diameter and the interval is normalized by the auxiliary rotor diameter. As can be
seen from the result, the relative distance between the two rotors has a substantial effect on
the generation of power. About 9% increase of power can be achievable when the relative
distance approaches one-half of the auxiliary rotor diameter in comparison with the case
without any interval between the rotors. It should be noted that the analysis results are
confined within the value when the interval remains one-half of the auxiliary rotor
diameter since there is no experimental data available above that limit, as can be inferred
from Fig. 5.
Finally, field test measurements have been made to correlate the current analysis
results and also to investigate the overall performance of the C/R turbine system over
the conventional single rotor system. Fig. 10 shows the geometry and dimension of the
two rotors used in the C/R system. It is noted that, for the main rotor, an extension bar
is placed between the blade and the hub in a means to save the fabrication cost of
building-up complex geometry blades without degrading the aerodynamic performance
significantly. As mentioned in Section 2.3, the auxiliary rotor is used to compensate for
the dead zone in this main rotor area and also to generate additional torque by itself.
The details of the turbine system are summarized in Table 1. Fig. 11 presents a typical,
real-time power output data of the full-scale 30 kW C/R wind turbine system obtained
for the duration of 9 h and 30 min on June 24, 2002. For reference purpose, the
corresponding wind speed records are also listed in the plot.
Fig. 12 shows the comparison of power curves between the measured data and
the theoretical predictions obtained with and without the auxiliary rotor. Each of the
measured data appeared in Fig. 12 has been averaged for 10 min following the
guidelines and applying the method of bins procedure described in the IEC 61400
12 [7]. Noted that the current turbine system stores data in a text-file format at every
5 s leading to a total of 17,280 data units plus 120 10-min-averaged bins per single
day. For the calculation, the air density is assumed as constant (rZ1.225 kg/m3) by
642 S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

Fig. 11. Field operation data for power output with wind speeds on June 24, 2002.

considering the fact that the turbine is located on the seashore. The quasi-steady
aerodynamic strip theory along with the experimental wake model aforementioned in
Section 2.3 is used to obtain the theoretical results. Despite some scattered nature
encountered in the measured data set, a fairly good correlation between the test data
and analysis results is noticed as presented in Fig. 12. It is seen also that the power
increase of C/R turbine system over the conventional rotor system amounts to about
21% at a rated wind speed of 10.6 m/s. Figs. 13 and 14 present field test records
obtained for the power coefficient (CP) with respect to wind speeds and tip speed
ratios, respectively. These results indicate that the current C/R system is very effective
in extracting energy from the wind: the maximum CP reaches as high as 0.5.
S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644 643

Fig. 12. Comparison of power curves.

4. Conclusion

The aerodynamic performance analysis has been carried out for a 30 kW C/R wind
turbine system by using the quasi-steady strip theory along with the experimental wake
model obtained based on the wind tunnel test data. Through use of the proposed model,

Fig. 13. Power coefficients (CP) as a function of wind speeds.


644 S.N. Jung et al. / Renewable Energy 30 (2005) 631644

Fig. 14. Power coefficients (CP) as a function of tip speed ratios.

the relative size and the optimum placement of the auxiliary rotor and the main rotor in the
C/R system were identified. Regarding the relative dimension of the two rotors, the size of
the auxiliary rotor should be smaller than one-half of the main rotor diameter. It is also,
found that the power output was significantly affected by the interval between the two
rotors: a best performance was achievable when the interval remained at around one-half
of the auxiliary rotor diameter. The full-scale test data for the performance of the C/R wind
turbine system were compared with the present prediction results. A fairly good
correlation between the two results was obtained. Based on the prediction results as well as
the field test experience, the current C/R system thought to be quite effective in extracting
energy from the wind. The maximum power coefficient reached as high as 0.5.

Acknowledgements

This work has been supported by the KEMCO (Korea Energy Management
Corporation).

References

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[4] Wilson RE. Aerodynamic behavior of wind turbines. In: Spera DA, editor. Wind turbine technology:
fundamental concepts of wind turbine engineering. New York: ASME Press; 1994. p. 21582.
[5] Magnusson M. Near-wake behavior of wind turbines. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 1999;80:14767.
[6] Neff DE, Meroney RN. Mean wind and turbulence characteristics due to induction effects near wind turbine
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