Near-wake flow simulation of a vertical axis turbine using an actuator line model

Victor Mendoza*, Peter Bachant, Carlos Ferreira, Anders Goude

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


In the present work, the near-wake generated for a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) was simulated using an actuator line model (ALM) in order to validate and evaluate its accuracy. The sensitivity of the model to the variation of the spatial and temporal discretization was studied and showed a bigger response to the variation in the mesh size as compared with the temporal discretization. The large eddy simulation (LES) approach was used to predict the turbulence effects. The performance of Smagorinsky, dynamic k-equation, and dynamic Lagrangian turbulence models was tested, showing very little relevant differences between them. Generally, predicted results agree well with experimental data for velocity and vorticity fields in representative sections. The presented ALM was able to characterize the main phenomena involved in the flow pattern using a relatively low computational cost without stability concerns, identified the general wake structure (qualitatively and quantitatively), and the contribution from the blade tips and motion on it. Additionally, the effects of the tower and struts were investigated with respect to the overall structure of the wake, showing no significant modification. Similarities and discrepancies between numerical and experimental results are discussed. The obtained results from the various simulations carried out here can be used as a practical reference guideline for choosing parameters in VAWTs simulations using the ALM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-188
Number of pages18
JournalWind Energy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • actuator line model
  • dynamic stall model
  • near wake simulation
  • vawt
  • vertical axis wind turbine


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