A research wind turbine of one meter diameter was designed for the UNH Flow Physics Facility (FPF), a very large flow physics quality turbulent boundary layer wind tunnel (W 6m, H 2.7m, L 72m), which provides excellent spatial and temporal resolution, low flow blockage and allows measurements of turbine wakes far downstream due its long fetch.
The initial turbine design was carried out as an aero-servo model of the NREL 5MW reference turbine, with subsequent modifications to both the hub to accommodate blade mounting and pitch-adjustment, and increases in model blade chord to achieve sufficiently high Reynolds numbers. A trade-off study of turbine design parameters in scale space was conducted.
Several candidate airfoil profiles were evaluated numerically with the goal to reach Reynolds-number independence in turbine performance in the target operating range. The model turbine will achieve Reynolds numbers based on blade chord, an important consideration for airfoil performance and near-wake evolution, greater than 100,000, and Reynolds numbers based on turbine diameter, important for far-wake transport, on the order of 1,000,000. The blockage ratio is less than 5% based on swept area.
A motor and controller combination was implemented that allows to precisely prescribe the turbine tip-speed ratio (at maximum power coefficient for optimum blade chord), which can remain stable and absorb the generated electric power for long periods of time. The turbine nacelle was designed with a blade mounting mechanism which allows for precise manual adjustment of blade pitch angle, while allowing for future implementation of actuated pitch control.
The O(1m) turbine scale is viewed as a cost-effective compromise between size, driven by the need for sufficiently high Reynolds number, and the need for detailed measurements for significant distances downstream of the turbine under controlled conditions.