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Inverse design of horizontal axis wind turbine blades using a vortex line method


  • Seongkyu Lee

    Corresponding author
    1. Aerodynamics and Acoustics Lab, Aero-Thermal Mechanical Systems, General Electric Global Research Center, 1 Research Circle, Niskayuna, USA
    • Correspondence: Seongkyu Lee, 1 Research Circle, K1-2C24, Niskayuna, NY 12309, USA.


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A new inverse design process for horizontal axis wind turbine blades is developed to account for three-dimensional blade features such as non-planar wing tip. The multidimensional Newton iteration method combined with a vortex line method is used to provide blade geometry parameters given desired aerodynamic behaviors such as lift coefficient and axial induction. The Jacobian matrix is visualized to show the effect of the change of the blade twist and chord on the change of the aerodynamic behaviors. The method is validated for a canonical straight blade with uniform lift coefficient and axial induction distributions. The results show an excellent agreement with those obtained by PROPID, which is a blade element momentum theory-based inverse design code. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory Phase VI blade is used to validate the method for a straight blade with non-uniform distributions of the lift coefficient and axial induction. The method is also applied successfully to a non-straight blade design with a non-planar wing tip. A noticeable change in the twist and chord for this non-straight blade is seen compared with a straight blade. Finally, the inverse design code is used to make a large rotor blade, and the power output generated by this blade is computed. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.