On the wake deflection of vertical axis wind turbines by pitched blades

Ming Huang*, Andrea Sciacchitano, Carlos Ferreira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


Wake losses are a critical consideration in wind farm design. The ability to steer and deform wakes can result in increased wind farm power density and reduced energy costs and can be used to optimize wind farm designs. This study investigates the wake deflection of a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) experimentally, emphasizing the effect of different load distributions on the wake convection and mixing. A trailing vortex system responsible for the wake topology is hypothesized based on a simplified vorticity equation that describes the relationship between load distribution and its vortex generation; the proposed vorticity system and the resulting wake topology are experimentally validated in the wind tunnel via stereoscopic particle image velocimetry measurements of the flow field at several wake cross-sections. Variations in load distribution are accomplished by a set of fixed blade pitches. The experimental results not only validate the predicted vorticity system but also highlight the critical role of the streamwise vorticity component in the deflection and deformation of the wake, thus affecting the momentum and energy recoveries. The evaluation of the various loading cases demonstrates the significant effect of the wake deflection on the wind power available to a downwind turbine, even when the distance between the two turbines is only three diameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-387
Number of pages23
JournalWind Energy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • particle image velocimetry
  • vertical axis wind turbines
  • vortex dynamics
  • wakes


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