Luciano Castillo, PhD

Mechanical & Aerospace Department, Texas Tech University




1043 ERF


In this seminar, we will discuss how turbulence plays a key role on the performance of a large wind farm (scaled down models) and we will also examine how a unique bio-inspired micro surface (see figure 1) could potentially improve the performance of a single wind turbine. The interaction of the Turbulent Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL) and the Wind Farm Boundary Layer (WFBL) is crucial for the energy production of a wind plant. Experimental investigation on a model wind farm (e.g., in a 3×5 wind turbine array) operated in a wind tunnel have shown that power generated by turbines is proportional to the turbulent transport of momentum and kinetic energy across the boundary layer flow formed by the farm. We have further demonstrated that large-scale motions of turbulence are associated with a significant portion of the total energy transport from ATBL. Consequently, turbulence plays a key role on the energy entrainment for large wind farms.
However, at the scale of a single turbine, the surface roughness that results from mosquitoes and other debris that are impacted on the surface of wind turbine blades produce a layer of random roughness. This is known to negatively impact the performance of wind turbines, increasing form drag by moving the separation point toward the leading edge, thus increasing the external loads that negatively affect the drive-terrain. By employing a micro-scale surface on an airfoil (see figure), we showed that drag is mitigated and the separation point moved toward the trailing edge. Although this bioinspired surface modulates the flow evolution, the behavior of the flow is quite opposite to the typical surface roughness.

Prior to joining Texas Tech University in 2011 as the inaugural Center Director of the National Wind Resource Center and Don-Kay-Clay Cash Distinguished Engineering Chair in Wind Energy, he was Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the Mechanical & Aerospace Department. His areas of research interest include: turbulence, renewable energy and bioengineering. He has published over 100 publications, edited several books on renewable energy and co-authored several patents (e.g., energy, health care, etc.). Some of his awards include: Fellow ASME, the NASA Faculty Fellowship, the Martin Luther King Faculty Award, the Robert T. Knapp Award on complex flows from the ASME, the Best Paper Award from the Journal of Renewable Energy, the Best Paper Award from IEEE, and the Rensselaer Faculty Award (twice). He gave several keynotes lectures, plenary lecture, and distinguished lectures on wind energy. Currently, he serves as Associate Editor of Wind Engineering & Science, and serves in various scientific committees on renewable energy in Europe. He is passionate about inclusiveness and mentoring students and young faculty, and founded and organized two summer research institutes on renewable energy & medicine, which included students, faculty and K-12 teachers. A key accomplishment that he feels very proud of is that 10 of his graduate advisees are now in academic positions in the USA. For his contributions and impacts on inclusiveness he received in 2016 the McDonald Mentoring Award from ASME, and was nominated for a Presidential Award given by the President of the USA.
Host: Dr. Kenneth Brezinsky

For more information, please contact Prof. Kenneth Brezinsky

Launch Event