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Shape optimization of wind turbine blades



This paper presents a design tool for optimizing wind turbine blades. The design model is based on an aerodynamic/aero-elastic code that includes the structural dynamics of the blades and the Blade Element Momentum (BEM) theory. To model the main aero-elastic behaviour of a real wind turbine, the code employs 11 basic degrees of freedom corresponding to 11 elastic structural equations. In the BEM theory, a refined tip loss correction model is used. The objective of the optimization model is to minimize the cost of energy which is calculated from the annual energy production and the cost of the rotor. The design variables used in the current study are the blade shape parameters, including chord, twist and relative thickness. To validate the implementation of the aerodynamic/aero-elastic model, the computed aerodynamic results are compared to experimental data for the experimental rotor used in the European Commision-sponsored project Model Experiments in Controlled Conditions, (MEXICO) and the computed aero-elastic results are examined against the FLEX code for flow past the Tjæreborg 2 MW rotor. To illustrate the optimization technique, three wind turbine rotors of different sizes (the MEXICO 25 kW experimental rotor, the Tjæreborg 2 MW rotor and the NREL 5 MW virtual rotor) are applied. The results show that the optimization model can reduce the cost of energy of the original rotors, especially for the investigated 2 MW and 5 MW rotors. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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