High-speed vehicle motion on the highways produces localized winds whose energy can be harnessed. These local winds have less variability especially if the highway traffic is constant. The idea of extracting energy from highway winds has been conceptualized in many studies before. However, the feasibility of this idea has never been tested using analytical, computation, or experimental methods. In this study, we numerically compute the amount of power that can be extracted from local highway winds due to vehicular motion. A unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) method is used for modeling the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). Realistic computer-aided design (CAD) models of cars and trucks separated by spacing information obtained from the existing standards are used to model the vehicle motion. A vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) is used for extracting energy from the wind. The entire framework of ABL, vehicles, and turbine is simulated using overset grids and multiple translating and rotating frames of reference. Many vehicle motion scenarios were compared to the case of an isolated wind turbine. The initial results show a significant increase in the power that can be extracted by these turbines. The average extracted power increases about 317% when compared to the case without any vehicular motion. Field measurements or wind tunnel studies are required to provide validation for the computations and to determine if more advanced turbulence modeling methodologies have to be employed for these studies.
Numerical Investigation of Mini Wind Turbines Near Highways
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Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received June 29, 2015; final manuscript received November 29, 2015; published online January 21, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Yves Gagnon.
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Lapointe, C., and Gopalan, H. (January 21, 2016). "Numerical Investigation of Mini Wind Turbines Near Highways." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. April 2016; 138(2): 024503. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4032428
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