TOSCA – an open-source, finite-volume, large-eddy simulation (LES) environment for wind farm flows

Stipa, Sebastiano; Ajay, Arjun; Allaerts, Dries; Brinkerhoff, Joshua

The growing number and growing size of wind energy projects coupled with the rapid growth in high-performance computing technology are driving researchers toward conducting large-scale simulations of the flow field surrounding entire wind farms. This requires highly parallel-efficient tools, given the large number of degrees of freedom involved in such simulations, and yields valuable insights into farm-scale physical phenomena, such as gravity wave interaction with the wind farm and farm–farm wake interactions. In the current study, we introduce the open-source, finite-volume, large-eddy simulation (LES) code TOSCA (Toolbox fOr Stratified Convective Atmospheres) and demonstrate its capabilities by simulating the flow around a finite-size wind farm immersed in a shallow, conventionally neutral boundary layer (CNBL), ultimately assessing gravity-wave-induced blockage effects. Turbulent inflow conditions are generated using a new hybrid off-line–concurrent-precursor method. Velocity is forced with a novel pressure controller that allows us to prescribe a desired average hub-height wind speed while avoiding inertial oscillations above the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) caused by the Coriolis force, a known problem in wind farm LES studies. Moreover, to eliminate the dependency of the potential-temperature profile evolution on the code architecture observed in previous studies, we introduce a method that allows us to maintain the mean potential-temperature profile constant throughout the precursor simulation. Furthermore, we highlight that different codes do not predict the same velocity inside the boundary layer under geostrophic forcing owing to their intrinsically different numerical dissipation. The proposed methodology allows us to reduce such spread by ensuring that inflow conditions produced from different codes feature the same hub wind and thermal stratification, regardless of the adopted precursor run time. Finally, validation of actuator line and disk models, CNBL evolution, and velocity profiles inside a periodic wind farm is also presented to assess TOSCA’s ability to model large-scale wind farm flows accurately and with high parallel efficiency.

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Stipa, Sebastiano / Ajay, Arjun / Allaerts, Dries / et al: TOSCA – an open-source, finite-volume, large-eddy simulation (LES) environment for wind farm flows. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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