Towards optimal layout design of vertical-axis wind-turbine farms: Double rotor arrangements

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Designing an optimal wind farm layout requires fundamental knowledge of the interaction of wind turbines in an arrangement. In this paper, extensive high-fidelity CFD simulations are performed to investigate the influence of relative spacing, i.e., distance (R) and angle (Φ), in double rotor arrangements of co-rotating Darrieus H-type vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) on their aerodynamic performance. The relative spacing varies within 1.25d ≤ R ≤ 10d (d: turbine diameter) and −90° ≤ Φ ≤ +90°. The turbines operate at their optimal tip speed ratio. The analysis is focused on the individual and overall power performance of the turbines and their aerodynamics. Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) simulations, validated with experiments, are employed. It is found that an optimal region exists in which a higher overall power coefficient (CPoverall) compared to the CP of an isolated solo rotor (CPSolo) can be achieved. This region corresponds to compact rotor arrangements, i.e. R/d ≤ 3d with Φ ≥ +45° and Φ ≤ −45°, yielding a maximum 1.8% increment in CPoverall/CPSolo at R/d = 1.25 and Φ = +75°. Detailed flow analysis reveals that in the optimal spacing, a narrow passage between the two rotors is formed within which the flow accelerates, forming a high-velocity region. The downstream turbine benefits from its blade(s) passing through this region and consequently yields higher CP values. The findings highlight the high potential for compact VAWT farms with high power density and support the optimal layout design of VAWT farms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113527
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


This work was sponsored by NWO Exacte Wetenschappen (Physical Sciences) for the use of supercomputer facilities, with financial support from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, NWO). The authors would also like to acknowledge the partnership with ANSYS CFD. The 2 nd author is currently a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and is grateful for its financial support (project FWO 12ZP520N).

FundersFunder number
Fonds Wetenschappelijk OnderzoekFWO 12ZP520N
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    • VAWT
    • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
    • Wind farm layout design
    • Wind energy
    • Power performance
    • Aerodynamics
    • Urban wind farm
    • Urban and offshore wind energy


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