Development of an Open-Source Segmented Blade Design Tool

Benjamin Anderson, Pietro Bortolotti, Nick Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As wind turbines continue to grow ever larger to reduce the cost of energy, their blades follow suit, with the largest commercial offshore blades extending past 100 m. Massive blades such as these raise key transportation and manufacturing challenges, especially for land-based turbines. Segmented blades are one solution and are garnering increased industry and research interest. In this work, a detailed mechanical joint model is integrated into the Wind-Plant Integrated System Design and Engineering Model (WISDEM®), which will facilitate future segmented blade research and optimization. WISDEM is used to design a wind turbine with 100-m segmented blades. This wind turbine design is compared to other machines with 100-m monolithic blades designed for rail-transportability. The designs are compared in terms of blade mass and cost, turbine capital cost, annual energy production, and levelized cost of energy, with monolithic designs being the lightest and most economical. However, this result may vary by wind plant location. A variety of segmentation joint types exist, and they will inevitably vary in parameters such as cost, spanwise location, and physical characteristics. This work examines the sensitivity of wind turbine design drivers and annual energy production to a variety of the aforementioned parameters, using the open-source wind turbine design codes OpenFAST and WISDEM, finding that joint mass, stiffness, and location can have significant effects on design drivers.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No.032023
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2022
Event2022 Science of Making Torque from Wind, TORQUE 2022 - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jun 20223 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-82455


  • OpenFAST
  • segmented blade
  • structural modeling
  • wind turbine blade


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of an Open-Source Segmented Blade Design Tool'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this