MechE Seminar : Canopy flows of the built environment : Numerical and experimental assessment of flow dynamics around photovoltaic farms


Event details

Date 24.05.2024
Hour 11:0012:00
Speaker Pier Giuseppe Ledda
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
The growing demand of renewable energy installations demands guidelines for understanding their micrometeorological impact and environmental integration. Agrivoltaic farms, which combine energy harvesting with crop cultivation, represent a potential blend of energy generation and landscape preservation. However, the impact of photovoltaic farms on micrometeorological conditions remain poorly understood. As a first block toward a better understanding of these modifications, we perform fluid dynamics analyses on the canopy flow generated by these arrays. In particular, we conduct a combined experimental and numerical investigation on a  model of photovoltaic farm when invested by orthogonal wind. Experiments are performed within a water channel through a Feature Tracking Velocimetry algorithm. We vary the panel tilt angle and distance between the panels. Panel tilt angles influence airflow patterns, causing none, one or more recirculation regions and change the overlying structure of the turbulent boundary layer. The observed patterns are then compared with numerical simulations of the atmospheric flow, with a good agreement: within a numerical approach, we analyze temperature and moisture changes under varying conditions such as solar radiation and panel configurations.  Panel installation reduces air velocity, increases temperature, and creates non-uniformities at the crop level, analyzed in detail.  In actual agrivoltaic farms, these flow modifications affect moisture and temperature transport, which can be related to the hydrological balance at the ground and, in turn, to crop growth.

P.G. Ledda is a research assistant at the University of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. After obtaining his PhD degree at EPFL in 2022, he joined the hydraulics department at the University of Cagliari. His research involves different aspects of fluid mechanics. During his PhD, he extensively worked within the framework of flows past permeable bluff bodies (aerodynamic flows and falling objects) and pattern formation of thin liquid films and free-surface flows. He exploits theoretical developments with numerical simulations as well as experimental campaigns to assess practical consequences on flows of interests. He is actively working on low-Reynolds hydraulics, bio-fluid mechanics (cardiovascular and eye-tamponade flows), heat transfer and dispersion in indoor environments as well as turbulent atmospheric flows around and through canopies and their effect on the surrounding environment.


Practical information

  • General public
  • Free