Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2016

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering


Andrew J. Goupee

Second Committee Member

Michael L. Peterson

Third Committee Member

Krish P. Thiagarajan


This thesis supports the development of the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory constructed at the University of Maine through several investigations conducted with a one-third scale wind generation system. The scale wind generator is first tested in what is considered an open-circuit wind tunnel configuration to determine the influence proximal building walls of a facility housing such a device may have on the consistency and capacity of a wind generator. Turbine performance testing with the wind generator to identify any susceptibility to proximal wall influence is also conducted. This is of interest as the full-scale system will operate in different orientations within a rectangular building. Baseline wind generator performance and test turbine performance data in this configuration is established for use in comparison to alternative tunnel configurations. Additional investigations are carried out to determine the effectiveness of mitigation measures intended to reduce or eliminate any influence of proximal facility walls on wind generator performance. In these investigations any associated effects on wind generator performance and turbine performance testing must be understood. One alternative to the wind generator configuration is the conversion of the generator to a traditional wind tunnel, also known as a closed-circuit tunnel configuration, where the test flow is collected and reused by the tunnel making it immune to changes in orientation within the building. Active recirculation in the form of a bank of fans placed at the end of the test section is also investigated as an alternative method of masking the effects of nearby facility walls on wind generator and turbine testing performance.

This thesis is organized into 4 chapters. Chapter 1 details the current state of the art of floating offshore wind turbine development; past efforts are discussed along with motivations for future testing endeavors. Chapter 2 outlines the experimental instrumentation and procedures used throughout this body of work. Chapter 3 chronicles the hardware used by the wind generator, its operation, and baseline data collected. Chapter 4 discusses the conversion of the wind generator in chapter 3 to a wind tunnel that is subjected to the same tests and turbine runs as the wind generator in a comparative study. This chapter also tests the sensitivity of the wind generation system, and associated turbine tests, to the intrusion of nearby facility walls. Chapter 4 also investigates the use of active recirculation as a way to mitigate any negative influence of facility infrastructure on the wind generation system. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings of this study.