In past several years, several studies have shown that the shrouded wind turbines can generate greater power compared to bare turbines. A solar chimney not only generates an upward draft of the wind inside the solar tower but also creates a shroud around the wind turbine. There is large number of empty silos on farms, especially in mid-western U.S. They can be used as a solar chimney with minor modifications at very modest cost. The objective of this study is to determine the potential of these silos/chimneys in generating wind-power by installing a wind turbine inside the silo. An analytical/computational study is performed to evaluate this potential by employing the well known commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software FLUENT. An actuator disc model is used to model the turbine. Calculations are performed for three cases using the dimensions of a typical silo and assuming Class 3 wind velocity: (a) bare turbine (without enclosing silo), (b) turbine enclosed by a cylindrical silo, and (c) the turbine enclosed by the cylindrical silo with a diffuser at the top of the silo. The incompressible Navier-Stokes equations with Boussinesq approximation and a two equation realizable k–ε model are employed in the calculations. Cp and generated power are calculated for the three cases. It was found that the silo increases the Cp beyond the Betz’s limit significantly and as a result the generated power; this effect is consistent with that found in the recent literature that the shrouded wind-turbines can generate greater power than the bare turbines. The inclusion of a diffuser on top of the silo further increases the generated power and Cp. The results reported here are for typical silo dimensions and wind speeds; the results for silos with different dimensions and wind speeds can be easily generated. This study shows the potential of using abandoned silos in mid-west for wind power generation.

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