Peak Power and Blade Loads on Stall-Regulated Rotors as Influenced by Different Airfoil Families

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    At the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), new airfoils have been developed to help improve the performance and economics of horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTS). The objective of this study was to compare the performance characteristics of one of these airfoil families to other commonly used airfoil series for a typical three-bladed, stall-regulated HAWT. The traditional airfoil serieschosen for comparison with SERF's new thin airfoil family were the NACA 23XXX, NACA 44XX, and NASA LS (1). The Micon 110 wind turbine was chosen because it is a typical three-bladed, stall-regulated rigid rotor system. The performance characteristics of the different airfoil series were derived analytically using the Eppler airfoil design code in the analysis mode. On a relative basis, thisapproach to comparing airfoils was considered more accurate than using airfoil performance characteristics based on wind-tunnel test data. After generating the performance characteristics for each airfoil series, the subsequent rotor performance and blade loads were calculated using SERI's PROPSH computer code. Resulting annual energy output, which is dependent on the wind-speed distribution,was calculated using SERf's Systems Engineering and Analysis Computer Code (SEACC). The results of the study show that fixed-wing airfoils generally result in excessive peak power for stall regulated, rigid rotors. By operating the wind turbine at a less desirable blade pitch angle, peak power can be reduced at the expense of higher mean blade loads and lower annual energy output. In contrast,the thin airfoil family was designed to reduce peak power at optimum blade pitch to minimize blade loads and maximize annual energy output.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages9
    StatePublished - 1988

    Bibliographical note

    Prepared for AWEA/RETSIE Symposium, Santa Clara, California, 7-10 June 1988

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-217-3334


    • blades
    • HAWT
    • wind turbines


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