Data-driven RANS closures for wind turbine wakes under neutral conditions

Julia Steiner*, Richard P. Dwight, Axelle Viré

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The state-of-the-art in wind-farm flow-physics modeling is Large Eddy Simulation (LES) which makes accurate predictions of most relevant physics, but requires extensive computational resources. The next-fidelity model types are Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) which are two orders of magnitude cheaper, but resolve only mean quantities and model the effect of turbulence. They often fail to accurately predict key effects, such as the wake recovery rate. Custom RANS closures designed for wind-farm wakes exist, but so far do not generalize well: there is substantial room for improvement. In this article we present the first steps towards a systematic data-driven approach to deriving new RANS models in the wind-energy setting. Time-averaged LES data is used as ground-truth, and we first derive optimal corrective fields for the turbulence anisotropy tensor and turbulence kinetic energy (t.k.e.) production. These fields, when injected into the RANS equations (with a baseline k–ɛ model) reproduce the LES mean-quantities. Next we build a custom RANS closure from these corrective fields, using a deterministic symbolic regression method to infer algebraic correction as a function of the (resolved) mean-flow. The result is a new RANS closure, customized to the training data. The potential of the approach is demonstrated under neutral atmospheric conditions for multi-turbine constellations at wind-tunnel scale. The results show significantly improved predictions compared to the baseline closure, for both mean velocity and the t.k.e. fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105213
JournalComputers and Fluids
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • CFD
  • Dta-driven modeling
  • Elastic net
  • Machine learning
  • Turbulence modeling
  • Wake modeling


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