16 Oct 2023
 | 16 Oct 2023

Rotary-wing drone-induced flow – comparison of simulations with lidar measurements

Liqin Jin, Mauro Ghirardelli, Jakob Mann, Mikael Sjöholm, Stephan T. Kral, and Joachim Reuder

Abstract. Ultrasonic anemometers mounted on rotary-wing drones have the potential to provide a cost-efficient alternative to the classical meteorological mast-mounted counterpart for wind energy applications. However, the propeller-induced flow may deteriorate the accuracy of free wind velocity measurements by wind sensors mounted on the drone. Therefore, we performed an experiment using three short-range continuous-wave Doppler lidars (DTU WindScanners) to measure the complex and turbulent three-dimensional wind field around a hovering drone at low ambient wind speeds. The results obtained by lidar measurements and computational fluid dynamics simulations are in good agreement. Both methods conclude that the disturbance zone on a horizontal plane 0.7 meters below the drone, extends about 2 meters upstream from the drone center for the horizontal wind velocity and more than 5 meters for the vertical wind velocity. By comparing wind velocities along horizontal lines in the upstream direction, we find that the velocity difference between the two methods is less than 0.1 ms−1 in most cases. Both plane and line scan results validate the reliability of simulations. Furthermore, simulations of flow patterns in a vertical plane at low ambient speed indicate that it is difficult to accurately measure the vertical wind component with less than 1 % distortion by drone-mounted sonic anemometers.

Liqin Jin et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1546', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Nov 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1546', Anonymous Referee #2, 26 Nov 2023

Liqin Jin et al.

Liqin Jin et al.


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Short summary
Three-dimensional wind fields can be accurately measured by sonic anemometers. However, the traditional mast-mounted sonic anemometers are difficult to be placed for offshore wind energy, which can be potentially overcome by drones. Therefore, we conducted a proof-of-concept study by applying three continuous-wave Doppler lidars to characterize the complex flow around a drone to validate the results obtained by simulations. Both methods show a good agreement with a velocity difference of 0.1m/s.