François Trigaux
PhD student
Ir. at UCL in 2019

Main project: FSI for wind turbines
Funding: ETF
Supervisor(s): Grégoire Winckelmans, Philippe Chatelain

Wind energy is one of the most promising renewable energy to ensure the transition towards a sustainable energy mix. At the national level, the offshore installed power will reach 3 GW in 2020 and hence become the most important source of low carbon energy. However, with wind turbines now reaching a diameter of up to 160m, there is a need to consider structural effects into the design, as the large deformation and unsteady loads can modify the aerodynamics or lead to vibration instability. Numerical simulations are an efficient and flexible tool to answer this need.

Our goal is to further advance the state-of-the-art of the simulation of both horizontal and vertical axis wind turbines by handling correctly the fluid structure interaction. The first part of project consists in the efficient coupling of the fluid and the flow solver. The wind turbine deformation will be computed using a detailed FEM solver developed at UGent, whereas the flow will be computed using a scale-resolving tool based on large-edddy simulation and HPC. The effect on the flow of the turbine will be handled with an actuator lines method. Using LES for the flow solver is a novel approach, that will capture the unsteadiness of the flow at a much higher level than the currently used URANS. This will allow to study the unsteady loads acting on the turbine, its vibration modes and the effect of deformation on the power and the wake.

The developed tool will then be used to study load alleviation methods such as working on the tip speed ratio, the orientation, and performing individual pitch control. The FSI in complex situation will also be performed, such as wind turbines interacting with the wake of preceeding ones. The evolution of the loads when the turbines are subject to gusts will also be characterized, including the study of the artificial gust generation. The aeroelasticity of WTs in a floating configuration will also be investigated.

IMMC main research direction(s):
Fluid mechanics
Solid mechanics

eulerian-lagrangian method
finite elements
fluid structure interaction
wake flows
wind turbine

Research group(s): TFL