Rotor Aerodynamics, Aeroelastics and Wake (RAAW) Experiment


High-fidelity wind turbine modeling advances necessitate model validation datasets of equally high fidelity. The Rotor Aerodynamics, Aeroelastics & Wake (RAAW) project was designed to address this need. This three-year project runs from October 2021 through October 2024 starting with a field data collection period followed by model validation activities. RAAW is a partnership between GE Renewable Energy and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories.

The field experiment is designed to make detailed measurements of the inflow, wind turbine response, and the resulting wake. The experimental dataset will be suitable for validating wind turbine models across the fidelity spectrum from actuator disk methods to blade-resolved codes.

Primary Contact(s)

Paula Doubrawa
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Nicholas Hamilton
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Chris Ivanov
National Renewable Energy Laboratory


The field activities will take place for roughly one year, between 2022 and 2023 in Lubbock, Texas. The site hosts a 2.8-megawatt GE wind turbine with a hub height of 120 m and a rotor diameter of 127 m. The inflow to the turbine will be measured in detail with in-situ sensors on a 185-meter meteorological tower, ground-based lidars, and nacelle-mounted lidars. The meteorological conditions (e.g. atmospheric pressure, air temperature, air humidity, and precipitation) will also be measured upwind of the turbine. The aeroelastic response of the tower and blades will be measured locally with strain gages and remotely with a ground-based camera system employing photogrammetry to retrieve the bending and twisting motions of the structure. The wake will be measured with a nacelle-mounted, rear-facing scanning lidar. A substantial portion of the data collected in RAAW is proprietary to GE Renewable Energy. However, a public benchmark based on a subset of the measurements and non-sensitive data will be released at the end of the project to benefit the broader modeling community.

At the end of the collaboration, RAAW will have produced validation-quality experimental data and used them to validate a variety of wind turbine models developed at the national laboratories (e.g. BEM, OLAF, actuator-line, and blade-resolved models as implemented within the ExaWind software stack). In addition to its validation focus, RAAW will be pushing experimental capabilities in terms of scale and application. Lessons learned from RAAW will guide ongoing instrumentation development needs for future, large-scale, wind-turbine field measurements on land and offshore.

Project Details

National Labs
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Sandia National Laboratories

Industry Partners
General Electric (GE) Renewable Energy

Project Principal Investigators
Paula Doubrawa - NREL, Paula.Doubrawa@nrel.gov
Chris Kelley - Sandia, clkell@sandia.gov
Jonathan Naughton - Sandia (contracted), naughton@uwyo.edu
Sam Draper - GE Renewable Energy, sam.draper@ge.com

Additional Contacts
Chris Ivanov - NREL, chris.ivanov@nrel.gov, Data Management
Nicholas Hamilton - NREL, nicholas.hamilton@nrel.gov, Instrumentation
Andy Scholbrock - NREL, andy.scholbrock@nrel.gov, Hardware & Logistics
Tony Martinez - NREL, luis.martinez@nrel.gov, Modeling
Dave Maniaci - Sandia, dcmania@sandia.gov, Uncertainty Quantification
Nick Johnson - NREL, nick.johnson@nrel.gov, Validation

Project Location
Lubbock, Texas

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