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J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn.

139 (2015) 815

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Journal of Wind Engineering

and Industrial Aerodynamics
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Harvesting wind energy for improving performance of Savonius rotor

W.A. El-Askary a,n, M.H. Nasef b, A.A. AbdEL-hamid a, H.E. Gad c
Mechanical Power Eng. Dept., Faculty of Engineering, Shebin El-Kom, Menuya University, Egypt
Mechanical Department, Faculty of Engineering, Sinai University, Egypt
Mechanical Power Eng. Dept., Faculty of Engineering, Mansoura University, Egypt

art ic l e i nf o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In this work three methods of controlling the wind direction were aiming at improving the performance
Received 22 March 2014 of Savonius rotor. The idea behind the new designs was to harvest the incoming wind to generate a wind
Received in revised form jet to the concave side of the advanced blade and prevent the convex side of return blade from coming
7 October 2014
upwind stream. The prevented wind was guided in different designs to impinge the concave side of the
Accepted 1 January 2015
return blade and hence to eliminate the negative torque and increase the exerted positive torque. The
Available online 30 January 2015
study could be numerically introduced using commercial Fluent-software. The SST k- turbulence model
Keywords: was used to simulate the turbulence behavior. The results showed that the suggested designs improve
Vertical axis wind turbine the performance of Savonius rotor in view of the power coefcient and the operation range. One of them
Improving Savonius rotor
enhanced the performance to reach a power-coefcient peak of 0.52 with operation range of tip speed
Harvesting wind energy
ratio r 2:2. However, the new designs generated large wakes behind the rotor that must be considered
Numerical study
in the turbines farm arrangement.
& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction box tunnel is 1.4 for all tested rotors. Curtaining arrangement was
used to improve the performance of Savonius wind rotors by Altan
The renewable energy is an important source of future energy, and Atlgan (2010). The curtain arrangement was placed in front of
because of the high problems produced from the conventional the rotor to prevent the negative torque in the opposite direction
energy sources such as fuel consumption and costs. Wind is a vast of rotor rotation. A rst plate was used to prevent wind arriving to
energy resource which is clean and renewable. Improvements in the convex side of return blade and the other to strike air to
wind turbine designs allow manufacturing to continually lower concave side of advanced blade. The results showed that the
the cost of wind generated electricity making it today economic- curtaining arrangement of the longest plates creates a maximum
ally viable compared with most other fossil fuels. One of the power coefcient of 0.38, but reduces the operation range of the
simplest and cheapest designs of wind turbines rotors is Savonius rotor. Fujisawa and Gotoh (1992) studied the ow in and around a
wind rotor. It can start operation with low wind speeds from any Savonius rotor by ow visualization experiments. Their results
direction. Savonius rotor consists of two-vertical half cylinders, see showed that, the net driving force can be increased by reducing
Fig. 1. Some geometrical parameters such as the aspect ratio, the reverse force on the returning blade. This could be realized by
which is dened as the ratio between rotor height H and rotor providing ow obstacle to the returning blade. Golecha et al.
diameter D and overlap ratio , which can be expressed as the ratio (2011) aimed to nd out the optimal position of the deector plate
between the overlap distance a and the cylinder diameter 2Rb upstream to the ow which would result in maximum power
affect the performance of Savonius rotors. Many different mod- generated by the rotor. Maximum coefcient of power is found to
ications in the literature aiming at increasing the power coef- be 0.21 at a tip speed ratio of 0.82 in the presence of the deector
cient of Savonius rotor were also considered. plate. The aerodynamic performance and the ow elds of
Kunio and Jitendro (2007) used a guide-box tunnel to improve Savonius rotors at various overlap ratios were also investigated
and adjust the output power of Savonius rotor under various by Nobuyuki (1992). The ow observations near the overlap
values of wind power. They found that, the optimum value of indicated that the recirculation region grows with increasing the
spacing ratio between the rotor tip and the side walls of the guide- overlap ratio and it is independent of the tip speed ratio
(Nobuyuki, 1992). The aerodynamic performance of the rotating
rotor was improved at a small overlap ratio of 0.15, while it was
Corresponding author. Tel.: 20 1005255817; fax: 20 48 2235695.
deteriorated with larger overlap ratios. Mahmoud et al. (2012)
E-mail addresses:, studied Savonius rotor performance experimentally. They con- (W.A. El-Askary). cluded that the Savonius rotor with two blades and two stages
0167-6105/& 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
W.A. El-Askary et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 139 (2015) 815 9

Nomenclature pref Reference pressure, Pa

Ts Static torque, N m
A Rotor's projected area, m2 U Wind speed, m/s
Af Area of the face, m2
a Overlap distance, m Greek symbols
Ct Torque coefcient
Cp Power coefcient Aspect ratioH/D
Cpr Pressure coefcient Overlap ratio a/2Rb
D Diameter of the rotor, m Air density, kg/m3
Do Diameter of the end plate, m Dynamic viscosity, Pa s
d Blade's diameter, m a Advanced blade angle, deg.
H Rotor's height, m r Return blade angle, deg.
l Moment arm, m Angular velocity, rad/s
PW Wind power, W Tip speed ratio,( D/2)/U
pf Static pressure, Pa

direct it to impinge the active (concave) side of this blade. The

study is numerically performed using SST k- turbulence model
U l based on the previous successful results of the authors (Nasef
Rb et al., 2013) and that of Akwa et al. (2012). The studied Savonius
Advancing blade rotor consists of two blades with 0.15 overlap ratio and aspect ratio

equals 1. Static and dynamic studies are here also presented to
a ascertain the good choice of the turbulence model as well as the
r developed geometry.

2. Method of simulation

Do In the present study, Fluent 6.3.26 trade software has been used
Returning blade
as one of the computational uid dynamics (CFD) package pro-
grams. By using it, the Savonius wind rotor with three different
designs of guide plates has been analyzed. Momentum equations,
Fig. 1. Scheme diagram of Savonius rotor (top view). turbulent kinetic energy and vorticity rate of turbulent kinetic
energy have been solved numerically with the use of the com-
improves the rotor performance. The performance of Savonius mercial software Fluent 6.3.26 (Fluent, 2006).
rotor was also found to be strongly affected by either the number
of stages (Blackwell et al., 1977) or the number of blades (Shankar,
1979). The presence of shielding-obstacle plate upstream the 3. Coefcients computation
returning blade of Savonius rotor improved the power coefcient
to reach 0.25 as noticed in the simulation of Mohamed et al. To compute the total generated torque (T), the pressure force
(2010). Dobreva and Massouha (2011) studied the ow through Holding the solution of conservation equations and the chosen
Savonius wind turbine experimentally using Particle Image Velo- turbulence model, one can simply calculate the rotor torque (T) by
cimetry (PIV) system. The obtained experimental results were integrating the forces resulting from the pressure F pressure
compared with numerical CFD simulation using k- turbulence shear F shear
f multiplied by the local torque arm (l) Nasef et al.
model. Nasef et al. (2013) introduced experimental and numerical (2013):
studies on Savonius rotor. The studied turbulence models were X pressure X
standard k-, RNG k-, realizable k-, and SST k-. The study T F f F shear
f Ul pf  pref Af f U Af  Ul 1
f f
concluded that the SST k- turbulence model is the best one.
They also concluded that the best value of overlap ratio is 0.15. where p and are the pressure and shear stress, respectively and
Akwa et al. (2012) found that the SST k- turbulence model is Af is the face area.
capable of simulating Savonius rotor. They found that the optimum The coefcients of torque, power and pressure can be com-
overlap ratio is 0.15. Zhou and Rempfer (2013) simulated non- puted, respectively from the following equations:
linear two-dimensional unsteady ow over a conventional Savo-
nius-type rotor and a Bach-type rotor using Star-CCM for predict- Ct 2
ing their aerodynamic performance. The simulation results were U 2 D2 H
compared with experimental data. The Bach-type rotor is demon-
P T TD=2
strated to have better performance for torque and power coef- Cp Ct 3
P W 0:5AU 3 0:5AU 3 D=2
cient than the conventional Savonius-type rotor.
The main objectives of this paper are to numerically improve pf pref
the performance of Savonius rotor using three different guide- C pr 4
1=2U 2
plates' designs. The designs consist of one plate to direct wind to
concave side of the advanced blade and another to prevent wind P is the mechanical power generated by the rotating rotor with
impinging on the convex blade (prevent negative torque) and rotation speed and Pw is the stored power in the incoming wind.
10 W.A. El-Askary et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 139 (2015) 815


2.8R 15O 1.1R

15O 0.133R R
R 0.5R





0.5R 27.5o 29.5
o 50 20.5


o o
24 0.5R

4R Upper plate

0.133R R

Lower plate
0.5R 1.5R

Fig. 2. Three-different designs to control the wind direction. (a) Design I, (b) Design II, (c) Design III, (d) Geometry of the suggested design III.

A is the rotor projected area dened as ADH and U is the are function of the rotor diameter as shown in Fig. 2. The Reynolds
incoming free-stream wind speed and is dened as the tip number in the given results is 141500, while Reynolds is dened based
speed ratio. on the rotor diameter (D2R) and the upstream wind speed (U),
The pressure coefcient difference Cpr is then computed as: Re UD=, where is the kinematics viscosity of the air.
C pr C pra  C prr 5
5. Boundary conditions and grid
where Cpra is the advanced blade pressure coefcient and Cprr is
return blade pressure coefcient. No slip boundary condition is applied at the solid walls. The
upstream velocity is considered to be uniform (Uconstant) at the
inlet (7R measured from the center of the rotor) of the computational
4. Suggested designs domain. At the exit of the domain (21R downstream of the rotor
center) and at the lower and upper (10R from the rotor center),
Fig. 2 shows the three suggested designs used in the present study. Neumann boundary condition is prescribed in which the gradient of a
In the three designs the upper plate is inclined with 151 to the variable normal to the boundary is set to zero (=n 0, where is
horizontal as previously suggested byAltan and Atlgan (2010). The any variable and n is normal to the boundary). The computational
length of this plate is 2.8R in the design . This length is allowed to domain and the boundary conditions used for design III (for example)
increase to 4R in the other designs to give sufcient developing length is presented in Fig. 3. The two-dimensional grid shown in Fig. 3 is
and hence reducing the entrance effects. The upper plate is aimed to created using ANSYS Gambit 2.3.16 with a focus on the mesh near the
collect more amount of wind and generate a jet to the concave side of rotor walls.
the advanced blade. The lower part of the designs II and III (with a Grid independent studies are performed to approach the realizable
vertical distance 5.7R from the upper plate) has collection area greater grid distances and good resolution that produces reasonable computa-
than design I (4.7R) as shown in the gure. The lower passages in tional results. Different efforts for every studied case are done to
design II and design III are approximately similar in dimensions but choose the best resolution to produce the complex behavior of
only different from broken duct to curved passage, to smoothly control boundary layer on the walls as well as the real performance in view
the wind motion. The exit jet from the lower passage has width of of the preliminary prediction of the conventional Savonius rotor and
0.5R for the three designs. The position of the exit-jet center has a the previous studies in (Nasef et al., 2013). A structured grid of 273,000
distance 0.75R for design I and 1.25R for designs II and III as shown in cells is found to be suitable for simulation. No noticeable variations are
Fig. 2. The exit jet position is selected to prevent the convex side of noticed in the nal solutions with increasing the number of cells.
returning plate from generating negative torque at rotor angle
between 901 and 1701 (as seen later). For clear observation, the 3- 6. Results and discussion
dimensional isometric geometry of design III is also included as shown
in Fig. 2 (d). In all present simulations, the rotor diameter (D2R) is In order rst to validate the ability of the present computations
considered to be 32 cm and overlap ratio is 0.15. All other dimensions using SST k model, comparisons between results of Savonius
W.A. El-Askary et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 139 (2015) 815 11

= 0.0 =1 , =0.15
Pressure outlet, y Design III
Design II
Velocity inlet, U= constant 0.5

Pressure outlet,
Design I
10R Conventional

Power Coefficient, (C p)



= 0.0
7R 21R
Pressure outlet,
= 0.0 0.1

0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Tip speed ratio, ( )
Fig. 5. Variation of power coefcient versus tip speed ratio for conventional
Savonius rotor and the suggested designs.

Fig. 3. Computational boundary conditions (a) and grid near the Savonius rotor 1.2
walls (b). =1, =0.15
Design III
1 Design II

0.8 Static torque Coefficient, (Cts ) Design I

0.8 Conventional

=1, =0.15
0.7 Design III 0.6
Design II
Torque Coe fficient, (C t )

0.6 Design I
0.5 0.2

0.4 0

0.3 -0.2

0.2 -0.4
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
0.1 Rotor angle, ()
Fig. 6. Variation of static torque coefcient versus different rotor angles for
0 conventional Savonius and the suggested designs.
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Tip speed ratio, ( )
Fig. 4. Variation of torque coefcient versus tip speed ratio for conventional As also observed from Fig. 5, the maximum power coefcient
Savonius rotor and the suggested designs. reads 0.52 for design III at speed ratio of 1.1 and wider range of
operation speed ratio ( r2.2) with good performance can be
attended for such design.
rotor using the measurements of Fujisawa (1992) have been Fig. 6 illustrates the variation of static torque coefcient versus
performed and presented in Figs. 4 and 5. The upstream ow the rotor angle for the three designs as well as the conventional
velocity is kept constant as in the experiments in Fujisawa (1992) Savonius rotor. From the gure it can be concluded that there is no
and equals to 6 m/s. Figs. 4 and 5 show the torque and power any negative torque for all new designs. The static torque coef-
coefcients respectively at different tip speed ratios for Savonius cient for all new designs is higher than that of the conventional
rotor in its conventional and the new designs also. The results Savonius rotor. For the three new designs, the static torque
presented in the gures shed good light on the performance of the coefcient increases with high values in the range of rotor angle
selected turbulence model, which encourage the authors to extend of 901351. That is because the generated wind jet in the new
all simulations using the SST k- as a suitable turbulence model designs impinge into the concave side of the return blades. Design
for all present simulations. From the gures, it is clear that design III has the highest values of static torque coefcient for all rotor
III has the highest values of torque and power coefcients angles compared with designs I and II. The directed wind har-
compared with the conventional and the other new designs. vested in the passage of design III includes a smooth turning and
Designs II and III have high harvesting areas more than that of hence a reduction of the lost energy compared with the other
design I. For that reason, the momentum forces directed to the designs. However, the decrease of the torque after rotor angle of
concave sides of advanced and return blades in designs II and III 1351 is produced by the strong wake behind the rotor and the
are greater than that in design I. disappearance of the jet effect on the returning blade.
12 W.A. El-Askary et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 139 (2015) 815

1.5 =1, =0.15, =1

Design III

Design II
Design I

Torque Coefficient, (Ct )




No self Starting
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
Rotor angle, () , (degree)
Fig. 7. Torque coefcient against rotor angle during a complete cycle for the
conventional Savonius and the suggested designs.

Fig. 7 represents the distributions of torque coefcient with y
rotor angle during a complete cycle of rotation at speed ratio of 1. x

The conventional Savonius rotor has oscillating torque of positive

and negative values, but the new design III damps any negative 135o

values of torque coefcients during the rotor rotation. Also, design Return blade

III has the highest values of torque coefcient along the cycle of Fig. 8. (a) Pressure coefcient difference along the wall of return blade for
rotation. However, smooth distribution of the torque coefcient conventional Savonius and the suggested designs and (b) The rotor at the position
for the conventional Savonius is noticed, but in the three modied of 1351 rotor angle.
designs the variation of torque coefcient is not smooth. This is
attributed to the strong wake generation behind the concave side
of the return blade of the new designs as well as the variation of
impinging-jet momentum with rotor rotation.
Fig. 8 shows the pressure-coefcient difference along the
return blade at local rotation angle of 1351. However, the pressure
difference between the two blade sides (concave and convex)
participates with the most part of the generated torque of the
rotor. From Fig. 8, it can be seen that the pressure-coefcient
difference for the new designs is higher than that of the conven-
tional Savonius. It means that the pressure on the concave side of
return blade increases for the new designs because of the wind jet
presence. The gure indicates also that, design III has the highest
pressure coefcient difference compared with that of the other
rotors. For this reason, design III produces the highest mechanical
Fig. 9 shows a comparison between performance of the design
III and that of other improvements in published works of Altan and
Atlgan (2010) and Mohamed et al. (2010). From the gure, it can
be noticed that the present new design III has the best power
coefcient and the highest operation range. Fig. 9. Power coefcient versus tip speed ratio compared with other published works.
Fig. 10 shows the velocity contours around the rotor with
different designs I, II and III, respectively at rotor angle of 1351. It
can be noticed that strong wakes behind the rotor are generated. must be considered as dynamic side loads affecting the turbines
The upstream wind enters the designs from two streams; one farm and the generated high noise.
generates the rst wind jet to the concave side of advanced blade The ow pattern (visualized by the velocity vectors) in the
and the other generates the second wind jet to the concave side of vicinity of rotor of design III at 1.4 as indicated in Fig. 12 shows
return blade. Behind the rotor, large wakes with different widths the ow direction guiding of such design with the presence of a
depending on the design form are generated. The instantaneous directed curved jet towards the concave wall of the returning
velocity contours around the rotor with and without modications blade. This is of course a subsidizing tool to generate a strong
at speed ratio 1 are seen in Fig. 11. As observed the narrowest active momentum which is responsible for enhancing the gener-
wake zone is formed in the conventional Savonius rotor. When ated torque from such new design. A clockwise rotating vortex is
comparing the different designs, one can observe the big differ- also formed in the gap near blade edge, which moves off with
ence between the wakes behind the rotors. The new designs time, thus opening the gap to allow the air to ow through the
generate asymmetric large wakes with strong vortex shedding gap. The streamlines distribution around such design (design III)
compared with the conventional Savonius rotor. This of course clearly indicates such complex structures accompanied with the
W.A. El-Askary et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 139 (2015) 815 13

Fig. 10. Velocity contours (m/s) around the rotor with different modied designs at
rotor angle 1351. (a) Design I, (b) Design II, (c) Design III.

internal and external vortices generated because of either the

rotor blades or the guiding plates around it, see Fig. 13. However, it
is not our aim to handle such problem in the present work, but one
should shed light on such complex ow pattern. The ow is
regular, with the presence of only the internal vortex in the direct
vicinity of the blade edge. With time, this internal vortex gains in
strength and nally separates from the blade edge becoming the
structure blocking of the jet impinging the returning blade. On the
other hand, vortex shedding ow from the guiding plates attracts
the researchers to its rich uid dynamical phenomena such as Fig. 11. Velocity contours (m/s) around the rotor with different designs at 1.
(a) Conventional Savonius, (b) Design I, (c) Design II, (d) Design III.
unsteady uid loading of structures, ow-induced vibration and
generated noises.
Fig. 14 illustrates the total generated drag on the conventional which there is a strong reduction rate of the drag of the conventional
Savonius rotor and the improved one (design III). From the gure, one Savonius rotor. At this position the modied rotor receives the
can see that the high difference between the improved design and the strongest jet momentum affecting on the rotation direction and hence
conventional rotor. The total drag, which is responsible for the the highest generated torque.
generated power, is highly increased in the case of the improved rotor The generated power is strongly affected by the rotational speed
compared with that generated by the standard one. The interesting of the modied rotor (design III) as shown in Fig. 15. As clearly
observation in the gure is the enhanced total drag, and hence the noticed, the generated power increases with increasing rotational
maximum generated torque, of design III at rotor angle of E1361 at speed till a rotational speed of N322 rpm, corresponding to the
14 W.A. El-Askary et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 139 (2015) 815

Fig. 12. Velocity vectors near the rotor of Design III at 1.4.

Fig. 13. Streamilines pattern in and around the rotor of Design III at 1.4.


=1 7
2.5 Conventional
Design III
Drag Coefficient, (CD)

2 5
Power , (W)

1.5 4

3 Re=141500, =1, =0.15

1 Design III


0 0
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 0 200 400 600 800
Rotor Angle, () Speed of Rotation, (RPM)
Fig. 14. Variations of drag coefcients versus rotor angle for conventional as well as Fig. 15. Variations of the generated power of the modied rotor (design III) at
modied (design III) rotors. different rotation speeds.
W.A. El-Askary et al. / J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 139 (2015) 815 15

0.8 500,000 without reaching the compressibility effects. The effects

=1, =0.15 of increasing Reynolds number are clearly visible in Figs. 16 and 17
Re = 120,000
0.7 and it is noticed that the torque and power coefcients increase
Re = 160,000
with increasing Reynolds till 180,000 (U 7.6 m/s). The value of
Re = 180,000 wind speed corresponding to this Reynolds number (Re), which
Torque Coefficient, (Ct)

Re = 200,000 gives the highest power is known as the rated speed. Above this
Re = 274,500 rated wind speed (U7.6 m/s), the modied rotor continues to
0.5 Re = 300,000 produce nearly the same rated power (from Re180,000 to
Re = 400,000 Re200,000). If the wind speed becomes dangerously high, i.e.
0.4 Re = 500,000
above that corresponding to Re 200,000 (U8.5 m/s), a marked
decrease in the torque and power coefcients with increasing
0.3 Reynolds number (Re 4 200; 000) is registered.

7. Conclusions

In the present work, new concepts for capturing wind energy
were developed. Numerical studies have been carried out to study
0 the performance of Savonius rotor with different modications to
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2 2.2 2.4
enhance the turbine power. The conservation equations of mass
Tip Speed Ratio, () and momentum were solved using the Finite Volume Method. SST
Fig. 16. Variations of torque coefcient versus tip speed ratio for the suggested k turbulence model was chosen based on a previous experience
design III at different Reynolds numbers. of the authors. The study was performed on Savonius rotor with
overlap ratio of 0.15. The new designs were aimed to create wind
0.6 jets towards the concave side of the advanced and return blades.
The xed shielding plates also prevented the convex side of return
blades from coming upstream wind and hence to prevent the
0.5 generation of negative drag. The results showed that a new design
with curved passage shape has the best performance, with notice-
Power Coefficient, (Cp)

able effects of the wind speed on its performance. However, the

0.4 strong vortex shedding and wide wake generated around and
behind the new designs needs more attentions from the point of
view of noise generation and dynamic loads in the design of wind-
0.3 turbines farm.
=1, =0.15
Re = 120,000
0.2 Re=141,500 References
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Re = 400,000
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