NREL Airfoil Families for HAWTs

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    The development of special-purpose airfoils for horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) began in 1984 as a joint effort between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) formerly the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), and Airfoils, Incorporated. Since that time seven airfoil families have been designed for various size rotors using the Eppler Airfoil Design and Analysis Code, a generalperformance requirement of the new airfoil families is that they exhibit a maximum lift coefficient which is relatively insensitive to roughness effects. The airfoil families address the needs of stall-regulated, variable-pitch, and variable-rpm wind turbines. For stall-regulated rotors, better peak-power control is achieved through the design of tip airfoils that restrain the maximum liftcoefficient. Restrained maximum lift coefficient allows the use of more swept disc area for a given generator size. Annual energy improvements from the NREL airfoil families are projected to be 23% to 35% for stall-regulated turbines, 8% to 20% for variable-pitch turbines, and 8% to 10% for variable-rpm turbines. The improvement for stall-regulated turbines has been verified in field tests.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages12
    StatePublished - 1995

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-442-7109


    • airfoils
    • horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT)
    • leading edge roughness


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