To date, only a few studies have examined the execution of the actuator disc approximation for a full-size turbine. Small-scale models have fewer constraints than large-scale models because the range of time-scale and length-scale is narrower. Hence, this article presents the methodology in implementing the actuator disc approach via the Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) momentum source term for a 20-m diameter turbine in an idealised channel. A structured grid, which varied from 0.5 m to 4 m across rotor diameter and width was used at the turbine location to allow for better representation of the disc. The model was tuned to match known coefficient of thrust and operational profiles for a set of validation cases based on published experimental data. Predictions of velocity deficit and turbulent intensity became almost independent of the grid density beyond 11 diameters downstream of the disc. However, in several instances the finer meshes showed larger errors than coarser meshes when compared to the measurements data. This observation was attributed to the way nodes were distributed across the disc swept area. The results demonstrate that the accuracy of the actuator disc was highly influenced by the vertical resolutions, as well as the grid density of the disc enclosure.
This article belongs to the Special Issue Offshore Renewable Energy: Ocean Waves, Tides and Offshore Wind.