Investigation of the integration of an oscillating aerofoil-based energy harvester into the building roof

Calautit, Katrina and Johnstone, Cameron (2024) Investigation of the integration of an oscillating aerofoil-based energy harvester into the building roof. Energy Reports, 11. pp. 4784-4811. ISSN 2352-4847 (

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The increasing energy efficiency requirements have led to innovative renewable energy solutions being integrated into buildings. Several works have shown the potential of micro wind turbines on buildings. However, their implementations have been hindered by several challenges. Flow energy harvesting devices such as oscillating aerofoils provide potential, yet a literature gap exists regarding their integration into buildings. This study addresses this gap by investigating oscillating aerofoil wind energy harvesting system performance through numerical modelling. A coupled numerical model was introduced, integrating a novel computational approach using ANSYS Fluent with one degree of freedom in rotational motion. This methodology was introduced to analyze the dynamic behaviour and predict mechanical power output of the oscillating aerofoil wind energy harvesting system, which is a novel exploration in existing literature. Moreover, validation of the computational fluid dynamics model was conducted through using experimental wind tunnel data in the literature, and results demonstrated agreement between numerical and experimental results. To improve the wind energy harvesting system of a single oscillating aerofoil, it was integrated into building roof to take advantage of acceleration effects of building roof shape. The design improvement comprises of a novel wind energy harvesting system design of an oscillating aerofoil integrated into three different building roof including flat, pitched, and curved shapes to enhance energy efficiency. The numerical analysis demonstrated that integrating an oscillating NACA 0012 aerofoil into a curved roof resulted in the highest average power output. Specifically, the integration of the curved roof and the aerofoil yielded 18 watts, while the flat roof generated only 0.6 watts at a wind speed of 3 m/s. Integration into a pitched roof achieved 12 watts at 9 m/s. Comparatively, integrating the curved roof with the aerofoil increased power output by 50% compared to the pitched roof design at 9 m/s wind speed. Thus, variations in wind speed significantly impact performance. In addition, changes in wind direction from 0 to 10 degrees led to reduced efficiency and lower predicted power output. Lastly, the power spectral density for NACA 0012 integrated into the pitched and curved roof buildings revealed peaks at 5.8 Hz in 9 m/s wind speed conditions.