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Increased power production is observed in downstream vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) when positioned offset from the wake of upstream turbines. This effect is found to exist in both laboratory and field environments with pairs of co- and counter-rotating turbines, respectively. It is hypothesized that the observed production enhancement is due to flow acceleration adjacent to the upstream turbine due to bluff body blockage, which would increase the incident freestream velocity on appropriately positioned downstream turbines. A low-order model combining potential flow and actuator disk theory captures this effect. Additional laboratory and field experiments further validate the predictive capabilities of the model. Finally, an evolutionary algorithm reveals patterns in optimized VAWT arrays with various numbers of turbines. A “truss-shaped” array is identified as a promising configuration to optimize energy extraction in VAWT wind farms by maximizing the performance enhancement of downstream turbines.


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