Aerodynamic Performance of Small Wind Turbines Operating at Low Reynolds Numbers

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    In an effort to enhance the aerodynamic performance of small horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs), an extensive design study was carried out with an airfoil database. Since small HAWTs operate at low Reynolds number along the entire span of the blades, the use of airfoils specially designed for this flow regime instead of the airfoils traditionally used should improve energy capture. Sinceairfoil performance at low Reynolds numbers is hard to predict, all of the airfoils considered in this study were tested in a wind tunnel in order to obtain accurate airfoil data. The blade shapes for a 5 kW/5 m diameter rotor operating at a nominal tip speed ratio of 10 were designed with the optimization code PROPGA. Results for design and off-design conditions are provided to show theimportance of having low drag over a broad range when it is not possible to hold the tip speed ration constant.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages10
    StatePublished - 1996
    EventWindpower 1996: American Wind Energy Association Conference - Denver, Colorado
    Duration: 23 Jun 199627 Jun 1996


    ConferenceWindpower 1996: American Wind Energy Association Conference
    CityDenver, Colorado

    Bibliographical note

    Work performed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/CP-22290


    Dive into the research topics of 'Aerodynamic Performance of Small Wind Turbines Operating at Low Reynolds Numbers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this