Stephen Tullis has created new industrial designs for the blades and valves used in the creation of wind turbines. His design improvements has increased power-generation performance by approximately 50 per cent for Cleanfield Alternative Energy Inc.
This research is focused on understanding the air flow through and around wind turbines. The power produced by a turbine is due to the force on each blade, but this force can be hugely affected by the overall flow of air through the entire turbine. These flows and forces are not just variable in space, but are also unsteady in time. Compute Canada infrastructure is used to calculate the flow by solving the governing equations for turbulent fluid flow. Our research has shown that the nature of the unsteady flows and forces can drive vibrations in the turbines and their supporting towers. We’ve also discovered that novel proposed modifications to turbine designs can significantly reduce these vibrations. The results of this research have the potential to impact Canadians by improving the design and efficiency of wind turbines in general, and in the towers, which are one of the key components actually manufactured in Canada. The research also has benefits for particular wind farm installations by reducing inefficiencies in turbine wakes impeding the performance of downstream turbines. This research would not be possible without Compute Canada infrastructure because the size and complexity of the models does not allow them to be run on anything but CC’s massively parallel high performance computers.