Global climate change, increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and depletion of fossil fuel reserves has significantly increased demand for alternative energy. Wind energy is one of the most promising alternative energy sources due to its relatively lower cost and lower environmental effects. Some meteorological phenomena such as air moisture, rains and, in the clod regions, ice formation on the blades could influence the performance of the wind turbine due to the impact on the geometry of the blades, increasing load on the blades or vibrations caused by ice shedding.
Investigating the effect of these phenomena is necessary to improve the design and performance of the wind turbines. There are studies on the performance of the airfoils in aviation applications under heavy rain conditions or the performance of iced wings in aircrafts. However, there are few investigations on the performance of the wind turbine under similar weather conditions.
Focus of this study is on the CFD simulation of a horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) under rainy condition. A commercial CFD code, ANSYS FLUENT 13, was used for simulations in both two and three dimensional cases. The effect of droplet size and concentration and air density on the performance of the wind turbine were studied. The knowledge gained from this study provides guidance for the design of the new generations of wind turbine.