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www.elsevier.com/locate/renene

oval-trajectory Darrieus wind turbines

F.L. Pontaa,, J.J. Seminaraa,b, A.D. Oteroa

a

College of Engineering, University of Buenos Aires, Paseo Colon 850, Buenos Aires C1063ACV, Argentina

b

Department of Mechanics and Aeronautics, University of Rome - La Sapienza, Via Eudossiana 18,

Rome 00184, Italy

Received 5 October 2005; accepted 14 December 2005

Available online 9 March 2006

Abstract

A new computational model for the aerodynamics of vertical-axis wind turbines is introduced. It is

based on the double-multiple streamtube concept and it incorporates the capacity of dealing with

rotors whose blades follow oval-trajectories at variable setting-angles. We applied this model to the

study of the aerodynamics of an innovative concept in extra-large wind-power plants: the VGOT

(variable-geometry oval-trajectory) Darrieus wind turbine. Due to the especial geometric

characteristics of the VGOT Darrieus, it was necessary to propose three new non-dimensional

parameters to quantify its performance under different wind-conditions: the equivalent power

coefcient, the equivalent solidity coefcient and the trajectory efciency. We show some numerical

results testing several rotor congurations working under different wind scenarios.

r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Innovative concepts; Vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT); VAWT aerodynamics; Darrieus rotors;

Double-multiple streamtube model

1. Introduction

Wind-power is the worlds fastest-growing energy source, with installations increasing

by about 30% a year. It is renewable, it does not pollute while in operation, it entails no

future liabilities associated with the decommission of obsolete plants, it lends itself to dual

land use with agriculture, natural habitats, or human residence, and, perhaps most

Corresponding author. Tel.: +54 11 4343 0891; fax: +54 11 4343 0365.

0960-1481/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.renene.2005.12.007

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36

important, it is ideally suitable to produce hydrogen as a substitute fuel. It is a fact that due

to economics-of-scale reasons cost effectiveness of wind-turbines increases with size.

During the last 25 years the size of the state-of-the-art wind machine has been increasing

systematically but the actual technology of horizontal-axis wind turbines would ultimately

reach its limits. Very large sizes would create a number of gigantism problems in rotor

design, and the low rotational speed associated with large radii would complicate the

coupling with the electrical generator. Besides, there are geographical regions (like

Patagonia in Argentina) characterized by a vast wind resource. Mean speeds in some areas

almost double those recorded at the European locations for which the commercially

available high-power wind-turbines were designed. As and example, Fig. 1 depicts the

wind-speed frequency chart for the region of Comodoro Rivadavia (and there are other

locations in Patagonia with even a greater potential). Regarding that the energy carried by

a wind stream depends on the cube of its speed, those regions offer an enormous potential

in terms of energy resources. Hence, it is worthwhile to explore innovative concepts in

extra-large wind-power plants to overcome the size limits of the actual wind-power

technology and being able to exploit the renewable energetic potential that high-windspeed regions offer. To this end, an innovative concept of wind turbine based on the

Darrieus-type rotor had been introduced [1].

In a traditional Darrieus turbine, the blades rotate around a central vertical axis. In the

variable-geometry oval-trajectory (VGOT) concept proposed in [1], each blade instead of

rotating around a central vertical axis, slides over rails mounted on a wagon formed by a

reticulated structure supported by standard train boogies (see Figs. 2 and 3). Each wagon

contains its own electrical generation system coupled to the power-wheels and the

electricity is collected by a classical third rail system [24]. With the VGOT design, if we

kept constant the velocity of the wagons (i.e. the tangential speed of the blades), we can

increase the area swept by the blades (and hence the rated-power of the plant) without the

low-rotational-speed problems associated to a classical Darrieus rotor of large diameter.

20

18

16

Frequency (%)

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

0

0

10

15

20

Wind Speed (m/s)

25

30

35

Fig. 1. Wind-speed frequency chart for the region of Comodoro Rivadavia, Patagonia, Argentina.

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F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

37

Fig. 3. Structural conguration of a blade-wagon showing boogies, suspension system and the electrical

generators coupled to their driving wheels.

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F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

38

The blade-wagon elements of a VGOT Darrieus, not being solidly afxed to a central

axis, could move following a non-circular trajectory (see Fig. 4). For certain locations

where the compass rose shows a preferential bearing it is possible to optimize the energyconversion efciency of the entire plant by increasing the portion of transit perpendicular

to the bearing of the incoming wind. Along the perpendicular tracks, the blade generates

the higher output-power, while along the portions where the trajectory is in-line with the

incoming wind the blade-wagon not only does not produce energy but also even consumes

it taking power from the rest of the plant to keep on moving. Thus, extending those

portions of the path perpendicular to the wind by the addition of straight tracks the overall

energy-conversion efciency of the plant increases. This conguration also allows

increasing the area swept by the blades (which depends on the blade height and the

trajectory girth across the direction of the incoming wind), with a smaller increment in the

path length compared to a circular trajectory. It reduces investments in rails and blades to

get the same output-power. On the other hand, along these straight tracks the direction of

inow on the blades would remain practically constant, contributing to aerodynamic and

structural stability of the system. This situation is different from a traditional Darrieus

where the blades are subjected to an inow variable in both magnitude and angle of

incidence all along the path. The fact that the wind in Patagonia shows a strong WE

directionality makes it possible adopting an oval trajectory such as the one proposed. A

typical example may be seen in Fig. 5, where the compass rose for the region of Comodoro

Rivadavia is shown.

Wind

Direction

y

Vl

Vl

W

U

W

U

Fd

Fl

Fd

Fl

Fr

R

Fr

Vl

Fd

U

Fr

Fl

U

W

U

Vl

Vl

Fd

Fl

Fr

Fd

Fl

Fr

Fig. 4. Schematic view of the path followed by the blade-wagons of the VGOT Darrieus showing the velocity

composition of the incoming ow and the aerodynamic forces acting on the blades.

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F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

NNW

N

50

NNE

40

NW

39

NE

30

WNW

20

ENE

10

W

WSW

ESE

SE

SW

SSW

SSE

S

Fig. 5. Compass-rose chart for the region of Comodoro Rivadavia, Patagonia, Argentina.

In our design, we looked for the use of normal railway material as much as possible.

Rails, sleepers, supporting wheels, and other mechanical devices are intended to be chosen

among the standards. As well as, electrical generators, third-rail electricity-collecting lines,

and other electrical devices are intended to be standard too. Besides, other stock pieces of

equipment could be adapted to our purposes and some other devices should be designed

specially.

When confronting the study of the structural behavior of the VGOT Darrieus we found

several particularities that distinguish it from another three-dimensional reticulated

structures. As we have mentioned above, each blade is mounted on a chassis supported by

standard train boogies and covered by a streamlined case designed to decrease

aerodynamic drag (see Fig. 2). The chassis is formed by a tubular reticulated structure

that should be designed to absorb the efforts in the vertical and traverse directions of the

railroad due to the aerodynamic loads, the weight of the components and the centrifugal

acceleration along the curved tracks. The effects of the link between the blade and the

suspension should be considered, together with the added mass effects of the components

and the ballast placed to improve the stability of the wagon. To this end, we developed a

special computer model to simulate the integral behavior of the reticulated structure, the

suspension and the blade itself. It involves several subroutines including a nite element

code to solve the three-dimensional beam reticulated assemble. Due to its complexity, this

code is treated comprehensively in a separated paper.

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40

Each blade-wagon contains its own electrical generation system. The generators

are connected to the power-wheels by a gear transmission. The wheels are placed at the

middle of the front part of the chassis (see Fig. 3) and draw the power by the friction

of the wheels on a ground rail. For this device we propose a twin design based upon

a pair of oscillating-lever gearboxes coaxial with the electrical generators. This layout not

only drives the torque from the wheels to the electrical machines, but also adjusts the

rotational speed to perform a suitable mechanical coupling and keeps a uniform

distribution of the weight. The electricity generated is collected by a classical third rail

system.

3.3. Control

Another interesting feature of the VGOT concept is the relatively long time taken to

complete every cycle. It allows the use of a blade-positioning control system that operates

continuously during the cycle without the fatigue and mechanical-inertia problems

associated to variable-geometry attempts in classical Darrieus rotors. With the addition

of an orienting device, the blades could set themselves at an optimal angle with a

further increment in the energy-conversion efciency. Several components of this

control system could be taken directly from the standard technology used for nacelleorientation in classical horizontal-axis wind-turbines. The possibility of a bladepositioning control could help remarkably with the issue of controlling the speed of the

wagons and the distance between them, as well as it could act as an effective emergencyhalt system.

There are three alternative strategies for the combined generation and blade-positioning

system:

(1) To use asynchronous generators linking the blade-wagons electrically. The speed of

each generator is xed by the frequency of the electric line, and due to the steep torque/

rotational-speed characteristic curve of the asynchronous generator, it remains close to

the synchronous speed. The control system must keep the distance among the

generating elements, and also takes charge of the optimum positioning of the blades to

maximize the energy-conversion efciency.

(2) To use asynchronous generators but linking the blade-wagons mechanically. The speed

of the generator of the whole set of wagons is xed by the frequency of electric line and

it remains close to the synchronous speed. The control system takes charge only of the

optimum positioning of the blades to maximize efciency, working as speed-controller

only in case of an emergency.

(3) To use synchronous generators. In this case the speed of the wagons is variable and it is

adjusted with the position of the blade to optimize the conversion efciency in each

case according to the wind conditions. Here the control system must keep the distance

among the blade-wagons. Electricity must be converted to DC before transmission

through the common third-rail in order to avoid problems of lost of synchronicity

between the individual generators while they were adjusting their respective speeds

during normal operation.

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41

Fig. 6. Perspective view of the suspension system and cushioned-pin spherical joint that connects the

parallelogram to the boogie.

The suspension system deserves a separate mention. Given the particularities of this

application, it was necessary to conceive a non-conventional design. The blade-wagon is

subject to uctuating aerodynamic loads in the direction perpendicular to the rails. It

means that the suspension system should absorb not only the vertical oscillating loads due

to the weight and the irregularities of the rails, but also the cross-rail oscillations induced

by the uctuating aerodynamics. If these loads were transmitted directly to the boogies and

the rails, they would compromise the stability of the blade-wagon. The suspension must

also adapt itself to follow the imperfections and misalignments in the rails layout,

minimizing their effects on the structure and the components. To this end we propose a

design based upon a two-axis deformable parallelogram which actions in the lateral and

vertical directions by means of a set of spring-dashpot units (see Fig. 6). This device is

complemented with a special cushioned-pin spherical joint that connects the parallelogram

to the boogie. This joint allows limited motion in order to let the boogie adjust itself to the

eventual misalignments on the rails while its rubber cushion absorbs the inevitable

vibrations produced by the imperfections on the railroad.

4. Aerodynamic study of the VGOT Darrieus

The idea of mounting a blade on a wagon with the aim of generating electricity has been

proposed before (see for example Fig. 1.6, Section 1.1.3 in Ref. [5], among others), but with

the VGOT concept we intend to carry on a systematic study of the real feasibility of such a

design, being the analysis of the aerodynamics a fundamental step. When undertaking the

ARTICLE IN PRESS

42

study of the aerodynamic behavior of a VGOT Darrieus, several particularities arise that

make it different from other studies in vertical-axis wind-turbine aerodynamics. The

aerodynamic loads depend on both, the position of the blade-wagon along the path and

the height from the ground. Even though it is composed of a number of individual blades

that control their setting angle independently, this plant works as a whole and it is not

possible to analyze the aerodynamic behavior of each blade-wagon separately due to the

interaction of the adjacent blades. Strictly speaking in terms of its aerodynamics, the

VGOT is a vertical-axis multi-blade Darrieus turbine with adaptive setting-angle control.

Hence, the logical starting point for our study is on the estate-of-the-art aerodynamic

models for classical Darrieus rotors.

4.1. Alternative aerodynamic models for Darrieus rotors

The Darrieus turbine is a kind of power machine used originally in wind-power

applications and also recently applied to hydropower generation. These turbines have

several advantages, but the prediction of their behavior is more complex than for the

horizontal-axis turbines. Since 1970s several aerodynamic prediction models have been

formulated for Darrieus machines. Modelling of these turbines follows two different

schools: the streamtube-model approach, that is based upon equating the forces on the

rotor blade to the change in streamwise momentum through the rotor, and the vortexmodel approach, that is based upon vortex representation of the blades and their wakes.

The streamtube approach needs much less computation time but the vortex approach is

more accurate.

For a multi-blade machine like the VGOT, the use of a the vortex-model approach may

become prohibitive in terms of computational cost. The VGOTs number of blades (of

about a hundred or so), is substantially bigger than the conventional rotors. Representing

all those blades and their wakes by a vortex-lattice arrangement would make the computer

code extremely slow. On the other hand, the presence of a number of blades uniformly

distributed over the cross section of the rotor helps to close the gap between the streamtube

model and physical reality. Streamtube models compute the time-average of the forces

acting on the blades on the portion of trajectory across the streamtube. This is the

equivalent of assuming that there exist an innite number of blades of innitesimal chord

length in such a way that the product of the number of blades times the chord length (i.e.

the solidity) of the real rotor is preserved. In a conventional rotor, the aerodynamic forces

are concentrated in few blades. Conversely, in the multi-blade VGOT they are more

uniformly distributed in the many blades along the path, hence the VGOT layout is closer

to the ideal assumed by the streamtube-model approach. Another issue to take into

account is that the VGOTs big size implies large radii on the curved portions of the

trajectory and so low values of the angular speed o. That minimizes the so-called curvedow effect (which depends on o) which induces error in the streamtube-model calculation

of conventional rotors.

Stream-tube models have evolved with time and we can distinguish several categories.

The rst of them is the single streamtube model proposed by Templin [6]. It uses a single

tube that covers the entire span of the rotor. The rotors interference is represented by an

actuator disk. As the entire rotor is represented by only one tube with one actuator disk,

this model predicts a uniform ow for the entire cross section and cannot take into account

variations of the ow parameters between the upwind and downwind halves of the rotor.

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F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

43

y

Wind

direction

V0

Up-wind region

Vlup

actuator disc

Veq

Down-wind region

V1

Vldw

x

actuator disc

Fig. 7. Schematic view of the tandem arrangement of a double-multiple streamtube.

To improve the predictive capacities Strickland [7] proposed the multiple streamtube model,

which was also studied by Wilson and Lissaman [8]. It uses an array of adjacent tubes to

cover the rotors span, which takes into account ow variations on the rotors cross

section. A more sophisticated approach called double-multiple streamtube model was

proposed by Paraschivoiu [911]. As it uses two actuator disks placed in tandem into each

tube of the multiple array (see Fig. 7), it can also predict differences between the upwind

and downwind halves. Advanced versions of Paraschivoius model incorporate dynamicstall simulation. Streamtube models (specially Paraschivoius) can predict effectively the

general performance of the rotor (power coefcient vs. tip speed ratio, power output vs.

wind speed, etc.) and their relatively low computational cost makes them a useful practical

tool for design.

In the following sections we shall describe the development of a new computational

model based on the double-multiple streamtube concept that incorporates the capacities of

dealing with rotors whose blades follow oval-trajectories at variable setting-angles.

4.2. Variable-geometry double-multiple streamtube model for oval-trajectory Darrieus rotors

As it was mentioned above, the streamtube models are based on the principle of

conservation of momentum. The local velocity for each streamtube is computed by

equating the average forces on the blades (calculated by the blade element theory using the

lift and drag coefcients) to the change in streamwise momentum on the streamtube. From

the scheme in Fig. 7, we have the following relation for the magnitude of the velocity along

a double streamtube:

V 0 4Vl up 4V eq 4Vl dw 4V 1 ,

(1)

where V 0 is the free-stream speed, Vl up and Vl dw the local upstream and downstream

velocities, V eq the equilibrium velocity in the coupling of both semitubes, and V 1 is the

nal velocity in the pseudo-innite downstream.

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44

The local velocities for each half of the rotor may be written in terms of the velocity at

the entrance of each semitube as

Vl up xup V 0 ;

Vl dw xdw V eq ,

(2)

where

0oxup o1;

0oxdw o1

(3)

are the interference factors for each half of the rotor. From the streamtube theory (see [5]),

the expression for the local velocity in terms of the inow and outow velocities is

Vl 12V in V out , then

Vl up 12V 0 V eq ,

(4)

which gives

V eq 122xup 1V 0 ,

(5)

then

xup

Vl up

;

V0

xdw

Vl dw

.

2xup 1V 0

(6)

The tip speed ratio is dened as l0 V p =V 0 , where V p is the tangential velocity of the

moving blade. We may dene expressions for the local tip speed ratios:

lup

Vp

l0

;

Vl up xup

ldw

Vp

l0

.

Vl dw xdw 2xup 1

(7)

From the scheme in Fig. 8, we have that the inow velocity on the blades may be expressed

as

2

2

Vp

W

cos y sin y2 l cos y2 sin y2 .

(8)

Vl

Vl

We can also obtain the angle of the inow

tan g

sin y

sin y

,

W 2

lup cos y2 sin y2 ,

Vl up

W

Vl dw

2

(9)

(10)

(11)

sin y

;

lup cos y

(12)

and

tan gup

tan gdw

sin y

.

ldw cos y

For a variable-geometry rotor we have that g a b, where b is the variable setting angle

and a is the effective angle of attack on the blade section. Fig. 9 illustrates the differences

between the velocity diagram for a xed-geometry Darrieus and a variable-geometry one.

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45

Wind

Direction

Vl sin

Vl cos

Vl

Vp cos

Vp

Vp sin

c

Wind

direction

Vl

Vp

Wind

direction

Vl

= +

Vp

c

R

x

(a)

(b)

Fig. 9. Comparison of the inow-velocity diagram for a xed-geometry Darrieus (a), and a variable-geometry one (b).

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46

Now, an oval-trajectory Darrieus has two axis of symmetry, thus we have to introduce

new concepts which were absent in the standard model for the classical Darrieus rotor. Our

model must take into account the angle of the incident wind with respect to the main axis

of the oval. We chose to measure the incident-wind angle j from the minor axis of the

oval. Earlier versions of our model [12,13], only contemplated four-point compass roses.

That is, they just solve the cases where the incidence-wind angle was 0 or 90 (i.e.

perpendicular and parallel, respectively, to the major axis of the oval). It was satisfactory

for a rst attempt, but it produced too a conservative prediction of the general

performance for winds blowing from a broad range of directions around each side of the

mayor axis of the oval. It was of capital importance to determinate the ideal layout of

trajectory for a particular compass-rose conguration because the cost-effectiveness of the

plant depends on it. Thus, we developed an improved version of the model [14,15] that

could deal with those winds blowing from intermediate directions which the previous

versions underestimated. To this end, we introduced a dual-scheme streamtube

arrangement (see Fig. 10) which has the capacity of combining curved and straight tracks

for every double-streamtube in order to deal with incident winds blowing from any bearing

of the compass.

We also had to introduce a shape coefcient (CF) which denes a proportional relation

between the radius of the curved portions of the trajectory and the length of the straight

tracks. In this way, we may do changes in the trajectory layout and evaluate the resulting

performance under different wind conditions. Another particular aspect that we have to

contemplate was the denition of a new system of coordinates to describe the motion of

the blades. For an oval machine it is no longer possible to simply refer the blade motion to

the instant angle along the cycle as in a conventional Darrieus. Hence, we dene a new

parametric coordinate (s), which describes the motion of the blade and from which its

Wind

Direction

Up wind

region

Down

wind

region

Fig. 10. Diagram of the dual-scheme streamtube arrangement combining straight and curved tracks.

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Wind Direction

s2

Up Wind

Zone

y

s1

R

s3

s0

x

Down Wind

Zone

s5

s4

Fig. 11. Diagram of the oval trajectory described by the parametric coordinate s, showing the break points

between the straight and curved tracks.

position and the instant angle of its trajectory are computed. Fig. 11 shows a diagram of

the oval trajectory described by the parametric coordinate s.

Fig. 12 shows a diagram of the aerodynamic forces acting on the blades. From the bladeelement theory we have that the average value of the aerodynamic force acting on a set of

blades passing across a generic streamtube is

Z

Z

NDs 1 si1 zj1 1

F

rW 2 cC n siny b j

13

stotal Ds si

2

zj

C t cosy b j C do cosy j dz ds,

14

where N is the total number of blades, stotal 2p CF R is the total length of the

trajectory, Ds si1 si is the length of the portion of trajectory across each tube, zj1 and

zj are the lower and upper heights of the streamtube, C t and C n are the Lilenthals

coefcients, and C do is the drag coefcient of the wagon (i.e. the aerodynamic drag exerted

on the wagons chassis itself).

On the other hand, from the classical theory of uid mechanics we have that the axial

force acting on a generic streamtube due to the change of momentum is

F rAVlV in V out 2rDbVl 2

1 x

,

x

(15)

where A is the area of the actuator disk placed in the middle of the streamtube, which can

be written in terms of its height b zj1 zj and its width D (see an example for an

upwind tube at j 0 in Fig. 13).

Equating expressions (13) and (15), and after some algebra, we have the general

expression of the interference factor for a generic streamtube:

Z si1 2

1 x

Ncm

W

C n siny b j

x

Vl

8p CF RD si

C t cosy b j C do cosy j ds,

16

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48

Ft

Fd

Fl

Fr

Fn

-ey

y

si+1

V0

si

i+1

i

x

Fig. 13. An example of calculation of the width for an upwind tube at j 0.

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49

where cm is the average value of the blade-chord length along the height of the streamtube.

Combining expressions (7), (10), (11) and (16), we have the following expression for the

upstream interference factor:

!

2

Z si1

1 xup

Ncm

l0

2

cosy j siny j

8p CF RD si

xup

xup

C n siny b j C t cosy b j C do cosy j ds,

17

and

1 xdw

Ncm

xdw

8p CF RD

si1

si

l0

cosy j

xdw 2xup 1

2

siny j

18

We may compute the local interference factors solving (17) and (18) numerically for each

streamtube. We use a combination of subroutines: cubic-spline for interpolation of the

aerodynamic coefcients, NewtonCotes for integration and NewtonRapson to solve

the nonlinear functions. From the interference factors we computed the instantaneous

value of the upstream and downstream local velocities. Then, the power coefcient may be

calculated as

Cp

nth

nt

X

X

Nl0

cjm

2

2p CF 2 CF cos jR j1

i1

xijup siny

xijdw 2xijup

si1

si

l0 xijup cosy j2

1 siny j2 C n sin b C t cos b C do ds,

2

19

where nth is the total number of streamtubes in height and nt the total number of

streamtubes in width.

Due to the especial geometric characteristics of the VGOT Darrieus, it was necessary to

propose three new non-dimensional parameters to quantify its performance under

different wind conditions: the equivalent power coefcient, the equivalent solidity

coefcient and the trajectory efciency. The two former are the corresponding extensions

to the VGOT case of the classical solidity and power coefcients of standard turbines. For

the equivalent power coefcient we have

Cpeq

npcr

X

f j% Cpj ,

(20)

j1

where f j% is the frequency of occurrence of a wind blowing from the jth bearing in the

compass rose, Cpj is the power coefcient for an incident-wind angle corresponding to the

jth bearing, and npcr is the total number of bearings in the wind compass rose. For the

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seq

Ncm

.

1 CF =pR

(21)

Note that expression (21) converges to its classical counterpart for conventional Darrieus

rotors when CF ! 0 (i.e. for a circular-trajectory layout).

The third parameter is a completely new conception exclusive for VGOT machines. The

trajectory efciency is an indicator of the economical efciency of a particular

conguration (i.e. a trajectory layout). It relates the total efciency of energy conversion

with the investment on rails and blades. The former is given by the product of the

frequency of occurrence of a certain bearing, times the correspondent power coefcient,

times the width of the respective swept area, and the latter is proportional to the total

length of the path. The expression for the trajectory efciency is

npcr j

X

f % Cpj 2 CF cosjj

Ef

.

2p CF

j1

(22)

5. Numerical results

In this section we include some numerical results of the application of our model. We

rst tested different congurations of oval-trajectory rotors with a xed trajectory layout

of CF 8. Fig. 14 shows the power-coefcient curves at j 0 for different values of

equivalent solidity obtained by changing the number of blades.

Next, we tested several rotor congurations changing CF (i.e. the trajectory layout) and

the number of blades in such a way of keeping constant the equivalent solidity. Fig. 15

shows the corresponding power-coefcient curves. We repeated the test for both extreme

0.6

N=60

0.5

N=70

Power Coefficient Cp

N=80

0.4

N=90

N=100

N=110

0.3

N=120

N=130

0.2

N=140

N=150

0.1

N=160

0

0

2

3

Tip Speed Ratio 0

Fig. 14. Power-coefcient curves at j 0 for VGOT rotors with different number of blades and CF 8.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

51

0.6

CF0

CF1 0

CF2 0

CF5 0

CF7 0

CF15 0

CF1 90

CF2 90

CF5 90

CF7 90

CF15 90

Power Coefficient Cp

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0

0

Fig. 15. Power-coefcient curves at j 0 and j 90 for VGOT rotors with different trajectory layout but

constant solidity.

NNW

N

50

NNE

40

NW

NE

30

WNW

20

ENE

10

W

WSW

ESE

SW

SE

SSW

SSE

S

cases of incident-wind angle j 0 and j 90 (i.e. when the wind blows, perpendicular

and parallel to the mayor axis of the oval trajectory).

To study the aptitude of a particular shape under specic wind conditions, we have

computed the equivalent power coefcient and the trajectory efciency for different

compass roses. Figs. 1618 show the compass-rose chart for three articially constructed

wind conditions that illustrate the extreme cases at which a VGOT Darrieus with its mayor

axis oriented in a NorthSouth direction could be subject. Compass Rose 1 corresponds to

ARTICLE IN PRESS

52

NNW

N

20

NNE

15

NW

NE

10

WNW

ENE

5

WSW

ESE

SW

SE

SSW

SSE

S

N

NNW

50

NNE

40

NW

NE

30

WNW

20

ENE

10

W

WSW

ESE

SW

SE

SSW

SSE

S

winds with a preferential bearing aligned with the minor axis of the oval, Compass Rose 3

to winds with no preferential bearing, and Compass Rose 4 to winds with a preferential

bearing aligned with the mayor axis. This series is completed with Compass Rose 2, which

correspond to the real case of the region of Comodoro Rivadavia in Patagonia, whose

chart is already depicted in Fig. 5.

Figs. 19 and 20 show the values of equivalent power coefcient and the trajectory

efciency for a series of VGOT rotors of different shape. All the rotors have a xed solidity

seq 0:6767 (which is a typical value for this kind of machine), and work at a tip speed

ratio l 2:2 which gives the optimum value for that solidity.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

53

0.55

0.5

0.45

Rose 1

Rose 2

Rose 3

Rose 4

0.4

0.35

0

12

16

20

24

Shape Coefficient CF

Fig. 19. Power-coefcient curves for a series of VGOT rotors of different shape under four representative wind

conditions.

Trajectory Efficiency Ef

0.24

0.18

0.12

0.06

Rose 1

Rose 2

Rose 3

Rose 4

12

16

20

24

Shape Coefficient CF

Fig. 20. Trajectory-efciency curves for a series of VGOT rotors of different shape under four representative wind

conditions.

Finally, we computed the aerodynamic loads which were applied to the blade as a

distributed load per unit-length. These loads varied in function of both the wagon position

along the path and the height from the ground, Figs. 21 and 22 show the aerodynamic load

per unit-length in the chord-wise and chord-normal directions (f chws , f chnor ) for different

heights along the blade in function of the parametric position along the path (i.e. s goes

from 0 to 1 to complete the cycle). These data are used as input for a forthcoming study of

the structural behavior of the balde-wagon.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

fchws

54

fchnor

Fig. 21. Aerodynamic load in chord-wise direction for different heights along the blade.

Fig. 22. Aerodynamic load in chord-normal direction for different heights along the blade.

We developed a computational model based on the double-multiple streamtube concept.

We applied this model to the analysis of the novel aerodynamic conguration of the

innovative concept of the VGOT-Darrieus wind turbine. The new model presented here

may simulate either conventional Darrieus rotors or the new oval-trajectory variablegeometry ones. This capability allows this model to treat more general cases and it expands

the spectrum of analysis for Darrieus-turbine design.

We want to point out some particular aspects:

The values of Cpeq in Fig. 19 show a relatively modest increment for increasing

values of CF. And for a sufciently-high CF, Cpeq is even smaller than for a classical

ARTICLE IN PRESS

F.L. Ponta et al. / Renewable Energy 32 (2007) 3556

55

for the cases where the wind has a strong preferential bearing aligned with the minor

axis of the oval, which are the most favorable conditions for a VGOT. For winds with

no preferential bearing or with a preferential bearing aligned with the mayor axis, the

situation is even worse. This observations could induce the wrong conclusion that the

oval trajectory is convenient only if the wind shows a strong preferential bearing aligned

with the ovals minor axis, and only moderated ovalities (i.e. small values of CF) are

recommended. Nevertheless, the real thing is that Cpeq does not constitute a good

measure of the actual energy-conversion efciency of a VGOT. Being an adaptation

of a parameter originally conceived to estimate the conversion efciency of standard

rotors, Cpeq does not take into account the savings in investments produced by the

substantial reduction in the number of blades and railway length due to the adoption of

an oval shape.

The reasons explained above led to the introduction of Ef as a more realistic parameter

for the evaluation of the VGOT performance. Once the savings on investments due to

the reduction of the path length is taken into account, the whole scenario changes

substantially. The values of Ef in Fig. 20 show not only that the conversion efciency of

an oval machine keeps growing with CF for the favorably cases (Compass Roses 1 and

2) but, even for a wind condition with no preferential bearing, Ef is roughly equal as for

a standard rotor (i.e. the CF 0 case) and remains almost constant as CF increases. As

it is logical to expect, for the unfavorable cases where the wind shows a preferential

bearing aligned with the ovals mayor axis (as in Compass Rose 4), Ef is appreciably

smaller than for a standard rotor and it keeps decreasing with CF. However, this last

situation will never occur in reality because nobody would design a trajectory layout in

such a way that its mayor axis is aligned with the winds preferential bearing. Hence, the

worst possible case of all reduces to a compass rose with no preferential bearing which

could be dealt with simply adopting an almost-circular trajectory.

We have to keep in mind that, even though we were compelled to use a circulartrajectory layout due to compass-rose characteristics, the advantages already mentioned

in Section 1 regarding the low-rotational-speed problems associated to a classical

Darrieus rotor of large diameter are still present. As well as, the possibility of using a

blade-positioning control system that operates continuously during the cycle without

the fatigue and mechanical-inertia problems associated to variable-geometry attempts in

classical Darrieus rotors.

We intend to continue our work with a study of the blade-wagon structural response. The

results of the present aerodynamic analysis for the instantaneous forces acting on the

blades (see Figs. 21 and 22) were used as input to the structural calculation. In a

forthcoming work, we shall present a study of the structural behavior of each component

of the blade-wagon structure: chassis, suspension and blade. Using combinations of

isoparametric beam/bar nite elements in an appropriate assembling, we shall estimate the

effects on the structure of the uctuating aerodynamic forces and eventual imperfections in

the layout of the railroad. Our objective is to dene a set of parameters to characterize the

structural behavior which help to understand the contribution of the different structural

components and assist the process of redesign. Besides, the mechanical design of the

suspension system and the blade-positioning device are now under development and we

intend to include their response in future stages of our study.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

56

Acknowledgments

We want to dedicate this work to the memory of Prof. Arch. Carlos Luna Pont, who was

in life deeply involved in this project and many more that we developed together in the

ISEP research-lab at the College of Engineering of UBA. A wonderful gentleman who

renewably invested his energy to impulse the cause of clean technologies and passed away

while working in an anemometry campaign on the windy elds of Argentine Patagonia.

This work was partially funded by research funds made available by the University of

Buenos Aires through Grants UBACyT-Pr.2001/04(I-17) and Pr.2004/07(I-56).

References

[1] Ponta FL, Luna Pont CA. A novel technique for high-power electricity generation in high-speed wind

regimes. In: Fifth world renewable energy congress, Florence, Pergamon; 1998. p. 19369.

[2] Ponta FL, Otero AD, Luna Pont CA, Seminara JJ. Mechanical, structural and electrical concepts for the

engineering of a V.G.O.T. Darrieus turbine. In: 2001 European wind energy conference and exhibition,

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[3] Ponta FL, Otero AD, Seminara JJ, Lago LI. Improved design for the structure and gear system of a blade

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[4] Ponta FL, Otero AD, Lago L. The VGOT Darrieus wind turbine. Int J Global Energy Issues 2004;21:30313.

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[6] Templin RJ. Aerodynamic performance theory for the NRC vertical axis wind turbine. Report LTR-LA-160,

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[7] Strickland JH. The Darrieus turbine: a performance prediction model using multiple stream tubes. Report

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[8] Wilson RE, Walker SN, Lissaman P. Aerodynamics of the Darrieus rotor. J Aircraft 1976;13:10234.

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[12] Ponta FL, Seminara JJ. Double-multiple streamtube model for variable-geometry oval-trajectory Darrieus

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[13] Seminara JJ, Ponta FL. Numerical experimentation about an oval-trajectory Darrieus wind turbine. In: Sixth

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[14] Ponta FL, Seminara JJ. Double-multiple streamtube model for V.G.O.T. Darrieus turbines with recent

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[15] Seminara JJ, Ponta FL. Numerical results for a V.G.O.T. Darrieus turbine for different wind compass-rose

conditions. In: 2001 European wind energy conference and exhibition, Copenhagen, WIPRenewable

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