Energy Balance Analysis and Turbulence Profile of a Darrieus-type Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

To cite this article: H’ng, Y. M., Yusup, Y. & Ahmad Zaki, S. (2019). Energy balance analysis and turbulence profile of a Darrieus-type vertical axis wind turbine. J. Phys. Sci., 30(1), 47–70,


Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) extract energy through reduction of the kinetic and turbulent kinetic energies, and the vertical momentum flux. Detailed turbulence profiling and energy balance analysis were attempted through direct turbulence quantification using the Eddy Covariance method. A high-frequency sonic anemometer was employed to measure flow and turbulence upwind and downwind of a Darrieus-type VAWT at different positions that cover the entire windswept area. The data was processed and analysed using a custom Matlab script. Energy balance analysis showed that there was a significant drop in kinetic energy before and after the VAWT (72% to 42%) but a small increase in turbulent kinetic energy (28% to 31%). The results also showed that the rotational direction of VAWT contributed to a higher value of longitudinal turbulence at the windward edge of the VAWT. The VAWT affected the flow field upwind by generating reverse flows. The largest vertical momentum flux transfer occurred downwind of the windward side of the VAWT. Spectral analysis shows that the VAWT produced smaller but faster momentum flux vortices due to the rotating rotors in the 1 Hz to 5 Hz range. This data and results have important applications to accurately model complex flows around VAWTs.