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Published by: Nazif Syahmi Ong on May 23, 2012
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Design and Research of High-Performance LowSpeed Wind Turbine Blades

Jialin Zhang, Zhenggui Zhou, Yansheng Lei
College of Energy & Power Engineering Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Nanjing, China
Abstract—The design and research of high-performance lowspeed wind turbine blades is beneficial to the use of wind energy resources across the country. As an exploratory research of the turbine, this paper establishes the initial blades based on the S822 and S823 airfoils for low wind speed, which are put forward by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The paper then seeks to optimize the chord length and installation angle of the blade according to genetic algorithm and calculation based on BEM method. Finally, we carry on in-depth analysis and verification of the design point by CFD method. The results of the numerical research prove that, the wind turbine blade designed by this method has good aerodynamic performance in low wind speed conditions. Keywords—Wind Turbine Blade; Low Wind Speed; Blade Element-Momentum Theory; Genetic Algorithm; CFD Method

carried on an in-depth analysis and calculation of the blade’s aerodynamic performance in design points by the CFD method. II. A. THE INITIAL BLADE DESIGN



The Initial Blade Modeling The blade used in low wind speed conditions should be composed of the airfoils that have a large lift-drag ratio. According to related literature provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory [4], the S822 and S823 airfoils have a large lift-drag ratio at low wind speeds, and these two airfoils are designed for the blades of a wind turbine whose diameter is between 10-20m. They are suitable for the basic airfoils of the low wind speed wind turbine whose design output power is about 5KW. Their geometric shape, lift coefficients and drag coefficients are as follows. Figure 3 and Figure 4 show that: the S822 and S823 airfoils’ aerodynamic performance are very close, and both have a high lift-drag ratio, but the S823 airfoil is thicker than the S822, so the roots of the wind rotor blades use the S823 airfoil, and the tips use the S822 airfoil. In regard to roots and tips, the installation angle and chord length of the initial blade are compared with the Phases II-IV blade designed by NREL, which has good aerodynamic performance in low wind speed conditions. The remaining parts of the blade are generated through the interpolation method. The initial blade’s gainable parameters as shown in table 1.

Most of the eastern part of China’s coastal and inland regions are low wind speed areas [1] which have an average annual regional wind speed of 3m/s-5m/s. These areas are also in short supply of energy. Research and development of highperformance low-speed wind turbines will help in the nationwide use of wind resources. At home and abroad, a large number of studies on the design method of the high-performance wind turbine rotor have been carried out, and concentrate mainly on the large-scale wind turbine. Glauert [2] first put forth a calculation method which used integral equations to optimize the rotor, then determined the speed induced factor by solving the iterative equation. Maalawi [3] further put forth a Glauert’s theorybased optimization method, which can be used to determine the inflow angle of the blade’s cross-section by solving trigonometric functions. Zhaohui Du, etc. developed two advanced aerodynamic calculation and design methods regarding the blade of horizontal axis wind turbine PROPGA and PROPID. Baoer, et al. put forth a method using dual optimization theory, and also achieved high wind turbine rotor performance. For the design of a high-performance low-speed wind turbine blade, this paper used the blade which is made up of the S822 and S823 airfoils as the initial blade, and calculated its aerodynamic performance in full operating range according to BEM. On that basis, we used a genetic algorithm to optimize the chord length and installation angle of the blade. Finally, we
978-1-4244-4702-2/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE

Fig.1 Geometric shape of S822 airfoil

Fig.2 Geometric shape of S823 airfoil

The power coefficients of the wind rotor at different tip speed ratios can be calculated under the conditions of given parameters for number of blades. also known as Strip Theory. we calculated the initial wind rotor at the design wind speed of 6m/s.1 Geometric parameters of original blade Radius Swept area Wind rotor axle elevation angle Root airfoil Root chord length Root installatio n angle 6m Relative position 113 m 2 0 Cone angle S822 Tip airfoil 0. and obtained the tip speed ratio-power coefficient curve with the largest power coefficient of 0. In-depth analysis of the optimized wind rotor’s aerodynamic performance is performed by using the CFD method. Momentum Theory refers to the impulse momentum of the external force suffered by an object equal to the variable momentum quantity. Compared with the Momentum Theory. The main advantage of the former is that it has a shorter computing time and high accuracy. Blade Element Theory considers that the wind turbine blade can be simplified to a finite number of blade elements superimposed along the radial. thus it is in wide use in engineering at present. Thus the wind rotor’s three-dimensional aerodynamic characteristics can be obtained by integral the aerodynamic characteristics of blade elements along the radial.3 Lift coefficients of S822 and S823 Fig. rotor radius. as shown in Figure 6. The first one is based on the BEM. In this paper we use the BEM method for calculation in B. lift coefficient and drag coefficient. Another carries on numerical calculation by using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Accordingly. Fig. Figure 5 shows the aerodynamic performance of the blade which is composed of the S809 airfoil. Blade Element Theory analyzes the force and energy exchange of the blade from the air flow near the blade elements. is a combination of Momentum Theory and Blade Element Theory.5 Calculation results of wind wheel aerodynamic performance . Fig. The results confirmed the above conclusions well. In contrast. The wind rotor’s performance must be calculated many times.218m Tip chord length 0 Tip installatio n angle Number of blades Upwind 3 0 S823 0. and calculates the power coefficient in different rounds of the tip speed ratio according to the lift coefficients and drag coefficients of the airfoils which are used to compose the wind rotor. the CFD method costs more time in calculation. but can yield more comprehensive data and higher accuracy in calculation results. It is used mainly for describing the velocity variation of the flow as well as the torque and axial thrust suffered by the wind rotor. Blade Element-Momentum Theory. as in optimizing the blade’s chord length and torsion angle times.5 Aerodynamic Performance Calculation Of The Wind Rotor There are two main methods used to calculate the aerodynamic performance of the three-dimensional wind rotor at the present stage. We respectively use the BEM method and CFD method to calculate and compare the data with experimental data [5].order to optimizing time efficiency. so it can be applied in the design and research of the wind turbine well.305m 2. hub radius.4 Drag coefficients of S822 and S823 Table.397. installation angle. Its shortcomings lie in the dearth of performance data yielded such that it cannot reflect the situation of flow field.

8 and the mutation operator is 0. n k 1 Wk f k ( x) (1) f k ( x) sin n ( x e ( k ) ). The power coefficient curves of the optimized and initial wind rotor are shown in figure 7. From the two figures. The power coefficient of the optimized wind rotor blade is 0.6 Original wind wheel aerodynamic performance Fig. compared with the initial wind rotor. The crossover operator is 0. it has global optimization ability. which means that the wind speed is less than 5m/s in 50rpm. Fig. simplex method. The iterations are 100. the aerodynamic performance of the optimized wind rotor have distinctly improved. genetic algorithm has the following characteristics: It has a selforganizing. Thus it’s fit for use in low wind speed conditions. are as follows: N The objective function of the optimal design is the largest power coefficient of the wind rotor in wind speed of 6m/s. the optimized wind rotor’s power coefficients have greatly improved in each tip speed ratio.. In terms of blade parameterization. The locations of the amplitude xk are given artificially. The modifications of the chord length and installation angle. and can achieve modification of extent change in different positions of the blade profile by changing the numerical value of xk . f k ( x ) is shape functions.7 Compared the performance of the optimized winds wheel with the original III. In this paper. it only needs objective functions and fitness functions that affect the search direction. can provide many potential solutions.Fig. in the root area. Curvilinear amplitudes Wk are taken to be design parameters. This method is easy to use. As can be seen from the figure. The total of the individuals are 100. In the middle and at the tip. and it. n 2 (2) lg(0. This is mainly because in the root area the initial blade uses the flat section while the optimized one uses the circular section. Compared with other methods. for a given problem. The essence of this method is to use a number of curves similar with sinusoid superimposed to constitute modification. BLADES AERODYNAMIC PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZATION Optimization methods are mainly genetic algorithm. The filter best value type is maximum value. so it has good generality.430. Especially when the tip speed ratio is greater than 6. xk is the location of the peak points of the f k ( x ) . simulated annealing method. the exterior curve of the optimized blade is softer. the number of design parameters can be changed. as well as gradient-based method. which obtains better configuration and intensity. we optimize the chord length and torsion angle of the initial blade by genetic algorithm. and the installation angle of the optimized blade is monotone decreasing radially while the change curve of the initial one has an inflexion. and the chord length remains practically unchanged. The change regularity of the tow blades’ chord length and the installation angle are shown in Figure 8 and Figure 9. Reflected in the modeling. adaptive and self-learning feature. we used the Hicks-Henne Function to add modifications on the initial blade’s chord length and installation angle to formulate a new blade design.01. N is number of design parameters. therefore it has great design flexibility. the optimized blade installation angle is slightly larger than that of the original blade.5) e( k ) (3) lg( xk ) Wk is weight coefficients. allowing the user the final choice.8 Compared chord length of the optimized blade with the original . we can see that the chord length radial change of the optimized blade is smaller than the initial one in the blade root area.

this paper further calculated the optimized blade by CFD software.1 ~ 0 . and in most regions there is no flow separation. so the wind turbine has a high wind power utilization coefficient in this state. The Numerical Approach Method In this paper.3rpm. as shown in Figure 10 Reynolds averaged equation models use models to calculate all the Reynolds Stress generated by scale pulse. The numerical calculation used a pressure-based unsteady method. c) show that: the whole blade is in large separation state when the wind rotor is started in a 3m/s wind speed.10 Three-dimensional blade modeling IV. in which the time step was 0. e). and was thought to be converged when all the maximum residual error of the 6 calculation points in the flow field were less than 10 . The power and axial thrust of the wind rotor in any given wind speed or rotation speed can be found in these figures.5 and the starting moment is 68. we can see that the wind rotor is in the rotational state when the tip speed ratio is 15. UniGraphics. and obtained more detailed flow field data in some key flow states. Based on these advantages. A. 57. and smallscale structures are isotropic so it’s easy to simulate by using a suitable sub-grid scale model. b). rotational speed is zero) and 6m/s wind speed. and thus far outweighed the time cost of the BEM method. large eddy simulation is being widely used in the simulation of complex flows. The obtained calculation result is a statistical average. Fig. In large eddy simulation calculation the widely used Smagorinsky model equations are as follows: . and to simulate a small eddy by using models. Fluent. which lost a large amount of important information included in the pulse motion.7NM when the wind speed is 3m/s. The scale partition of the flow field was carried on by choosing the filter width.2 (7) (8) Based on the change rules of the chord length and installation angle. Figure 11a). Figure 11 is the flow streamlines diagrams for root. the gainable structure is its real structure. Aerodynamic Performance Of The Optimized Blade After calculation. For larger-scale structures. B. to design three-dimensional shapes of the optimized blade. middle and tip section of the blade in startup wind speed (3m/s. f) show that: only in the root is there a small shedding vortex (see Figure 11d)). Figure 12 and figure 13 are respectively the power isograms and torque isograms of the wind rotor. It cost 70 hours to complete a calculation example by using rack servers. the large eddy simulation method was used to calculate the aerodynamic performance of the wind rotor. we use the graphics software. Figure 11d). It combined the direct simulation method and the Reynolds averaged method. and so gain more accurate calculation results. The large eddy simulation method directly simulates the large scale pulse that is able to reflect the flow field’s performance. and its basic idea was to calculate a large eddy by using direct simulation. and the separation becomes larger along with the reduction of the radius.9 Compared twist of the optimized blade with the original (C S v ) ui xj ui xj uj xi (6) v CS ( h1h2 h3 )1/3 0 . BLADES AERODYNAMIC PERFORMANCE CHECK Based on the preliminary calculation of the blades’ aerodynamic performance by BEM.ui t u i u x j j p xi x (v j v SG S ) ui xj v u xi j (4) ui xi 0 (5) 1/ 2 v SGS Fig.01s.

3.” Wind Power Generation. pp.7m v=3m/s N=0 b) r=3m v=3m/s N=0 Rotation speed (rpm) Wind speed (m/s) Fig. 2005. Results of the numerical study proved that the optimized wind turbine blades possess high aerodynamic performance in low wind speeds. SUMMARIES This paper uses the Hicks-Henne function for parametric modeling blades. REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] E. M.12 Contour map of wind wheel power Rotation speed (rpm) Wind speed (m/s) Fig. 5. Berlin.3rpm e) r=3m v=6m/s N=57. and finally uses the CFD method to verify the aerodynamic performance of the design points. 175-90. First of all. but can provide comprehensive information.IV. In this way we [4] [5] . vol. On the other side.Somers. “Develop approach of wind power in low wind speed. “Division L. “The S822 and S823 airfoils.M.Y. Maalawi. The calculation of the wind rotor’s aerodynamic performance based on BEM theory costs less money. and then begins to optimize blades by using the BEM method as the calculation method of the fitness. and genetic algorithms that possess parallelism and global optimization ability as the optimal numerical method. a) r=0. the aerodynamic performance of the optimized blade has great elevation especially in low wind speed.3rpm f) r=6m v=6m/s N=57.3rpm Fig.7m v=6m/s N=57. WF. this paper used BEM theory. D. 2001. CFD method and genetic algorithms to optimize and calculate the aerodynamic performance of the wind rotor. Yu. the CFD method costs much more time. pp. this paper made some preliminary attempts. Glauert. Aerodynamic Theory. As an exploration of designing low-speed highperformance wind turbine blades.13 Contour map of wind wheel moment c) r=6m v=3m/s N=0 d) r=0.11 Streamline diagram of optimized blade V. 324-330 K.Tangler. Zhu.1 James L. Finally. “DirectMethod for Evlaluating Pefromrance of Hoirzontal Axis WindTurbines. vol. 2002. pp. but cannot provide enough data and cannot reflect the condition of the flow field. 7-9 H. This paper uses the BEM method to calculate the initial wind rotor’s aerodynamic performance. R. “The Nebulous Art of Using Wind-Tunnel Airfoil Data for Predicting Rotor Performance: Preprint. Then it used genetic algorithms to optimize the chord length and installation angle of the blades on the basis of the BEM theory.” chapterXI. S823 airfoils suitable for low wind speeds to establish initial blades.” National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Durand.” Nation-al Renewable Energy Laboratory. and arrived at the following conclusions: In allusion to the design and research of the low-speed wind turbine blades. Badawy.Airplane propellers. it used the NREL S822.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 1996. vo1.can combine the advantages of the two methods of calculation and enhance design efficiency. The calculation results of the optimized blade show that: compared with the initial blade. 1935. this paper made a further analysis and test of the design points by CFD method.

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