Study indicates that Vertical Wind Turbines are far more efficient in large scale wind farms

A recent study[1] has found that vertical wind turbine design(VAWT) is considerably more efficient than the traditional form factor(horizontal axis wind turbine) in large-scale wind farms, and in a certain arrangement can increase performance by up to 15 percent.

A team of researchers from Oxford Brookes school of engineering, computing, and mathematics conducted a study into VAWTs using more than 11,500 hours of computer simulations to demonstrate that wind farms can perform more efficiently using VATWs. 

A VAWT large-scale farm as illustrated by the authors in the paper
A VAWT large-scale farm as illustrated by the authors in the paper

The research found that VAWTs increase each other’s performance when arranged in grid formations; positioning turbines to maximise output is critical to the design of wind farms. The research suggests that the now-familiar sight of horizontal axis wind turbine may be eventually replaced by the sight of wind farms containing more compact and efficient vertical turbines.

According to lead author of the report and Bachelor of Engineering graduate Joachim Toftegaard Hansen, modern wind farms – while one of the most efficient ways to generate green energy – have one major flaw: a downstream generated turbulence. As the wind approaches the front row of turbines, turbulence will be generated downstream, which is detrimental to the performance of the subsequent rows. 

VAWTs spin around an axis vertical to the ground, spinning like a giant weathervane and exhibiting the opposite behaviour of horizontal turbines. Although vertical turbines have been experimented with and improved in recent years, they are not yet used on an industrial scale as horizontal turbines are.

This study was the first to analyse so many aspects of wind turbine performance – found that, when set in pairs, vertical turbines boost each other’s performance by up to 15 percent.

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[1]: Joachim Toftegaard Hansen, Mahak Mahak, Iakovos Tzanakis, “Numerical modelling and optimization of vertical axis wind turbine pairs: A scale up approach”, Renewable Energy, Volume 171, 2021, Pages 1371-1381, ISSN 0960-1481,