This thesis studies the 3D flow field of grain bins as it relates to Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) placement. Numerical CFD simulations using ANSYS FLUENT were created and validated with the Minnesota State University, Mankato water channel. It was found that the best speed-up regions were on the outer most sides of the models, closest to the walls of the water channel. The model that is furthest upwind in the group has the best speed-up velocity. As the models become closer together, an asymmetric flow field develops. VAWT placement between the models for any case researched is not recommended. For all cases, the best speed-up region VAWT placement is at 33.3 ft height at a 5° downstream angle from the center of the grain bin and 10.6 ft from the wall of the grain bin. A speed-up coefficient of 1.09 was found. An economic study was done for Case 1 with proper VAWT placement leading to a net income percent increase of 14.97%. Finally, three heights were tested and general guidelines on how to place VAWTs behind grain bins were created.


Patrick Tebbe

Committee Member

Matthew Simones

Committee Member

Nazli Yilmaz Wodzinski

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Civil Engineering


Science, Engineering and Technology



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