Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Chemical Engineering

Committee Chair

Berson, Robert E. (Eric)

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Willing, Gerold

Committee Member

Willing, Gerold

Committee Member

Lian, Yongsheng

Committee Member

Komp, William

Author's Keywords

Wind power; Computational fluid dynamics; Wind concentrator; Wind speed accelerator; CFD


Wind power--Research; Wind turbines--Research; Fluid dynamics


Current wind power technology is not economically feasible throughout most of the United States due to low average wind speeds. A design for a small-scale wind concentrator device suitable for use in areas of low wind velocity was tested using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Using a novel approach, the device seeks to accelerate incoming air above minimum velocities required for economical power generation. The novel approach employs a funnel shaped inlet with relief vents along the circumference, so as to alleviate backpressure. Both inlet and outlet sections utilize funnel shapes with both parabolic and hyperbolic regions. All geometry and mesh models were created using ICEM 12.1. Simulations were performed using Fluent 12.1.2. Turbulence was modeled using the standard k-epsilon model. All mesh models contained roughly 500,000 unstructured computational cells. CFD simulations predict a 2.53X acceleration of incoming air through the throat of the device (based upon a 2 m/s ambient wind speed). Similar performance was seen across the range of 1-12 m/s. Analysis focused on testing various designs to reduce losses due to turbulent energy and backpressure, with a focus on maximizing the throat velocity where a turbine can be located. Tested variables include funnel shape, lengths of both inlet and outlet funnels, and curvature of the inlet rim. In addition to design of the device, the effect on airflow through the relief vents by a surrounding casing was also analyzed.