Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

An Improved Mass Consistent Model for Three-Dimensional Wind Field Construction

[+] Author and Article Information
Xiuling Wang, Yanlei Liu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University Northwest,
2200 169th Street,
Hammond, IN 46323

Bin Chen

Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering,
Purdue University, Northwest,
2200 169th Street,
Hammond, IN 46323

Darrell Pepper

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Nevada Las Vegas,
4505 South Maryland Parkway,
Las Vegas, NV 89154
e-mail: darrell.pepper@unlv.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 2, 2018; final manuscript received February 20, 2019; published online March 29, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Ryo Amano.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 141(5), 051208 (Mar 29, 2019) (9 pages) Paper No: JERT-18-1489; doi: 10.1115/1.4042967 History: Received July 02, 2018; Revised February 20, 2019

An improved diagnostic mass-consistent finite element model (FEM) has been developed to construct 3D wind fields over irregular terrain. Instead of using constant Gauss precision moduli over the whole domain in the existing mass-consistent models, the improved mass-consistent model adopts different Gauss precision moduli based on the terrain topography gradient associated with atmospheric boundary conditions. These terrain sensitive moduli resolve wind flows over large topographical obstacles more accurately than constant Gauss precision moduli. In this study, a terrain following mesh generator is developed based on digital elevation data from the U.S. Geological Survey, and the data linked to the modified mass-consistent FEM model. The improved model is validated and verified using a benchmark study for flow over a semicylinder. The model is then used to re-examine 3D wind fields previously simulated for the Nellis Dunes area near Las Vegas, NV. Results show that the improved mass consistent modeling system shows better agreement with the recorded meteorological tower data than the previous results obtained using constant moduli.

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Fig. 1

Boundary conditions for mass consistent model

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Fig. 2

Configuration of flow over a hemi-cylinder

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Fig. 3

Velocity along the central longitudinal axis: (a) case 1, α1/α2 = 0.1; (b) case 2, α1/α2 = 1; (c) case 3, α1/α2 = 1.4; and (d) case 4, various ratio

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Fig. 4

Nellis Dunes area map

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Fig. 5

Computational domain

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Fig. 6

(a) Terrain surface plot and (b) topographic contours

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Fig. 7

Computational mesh: (a) 3D view and (b) 2D view (dots denote tower locations)

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Fig. 8

Comparison of wind velocity magnitude (m/s)

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Fig. 9

Results from the existing mass consistent model

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Fig. 10

Results from the improved mass consistent model

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Fig. 11

Difference in wind velocity (m/s)



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