Development of a CFD-Based Wind Turbine Rotor Optimization Tool in Considering Wake Effects

Jiufa Cao, Weijun Zhu*, Wenzhong Shen, Jens Nørkær Sørensen, Tongguang Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In the present study, a computational fluid dynamic (CFD)-based blade optimization algorithm is introduced for designing single or multiple wind turbine rotors. It is shown that the CFD methods provide more detailed aerodynamics features during the design process. Because high computational cost limits the conventional CFD applications in particular for rotor optimization purposes, in the current paper, a CFD-based 2D Actuator Disc (AD) model is used to represent turbulent flows over wind turbine rotors. With the ideal case of axisymmetric flows, the simulation time is significantly reduced with the 2D method. The design variables are the shape parameters comprising the chord, twist, and relative thickness of the wind turbine rotor blades as well as the rotational speed. Due to the wake effects, the optimized blade shapes are different for the upstream and downstream turbines. The comparative aerodynamic performance is analyzed between the original and optimized reference wind turbine rotor. The results show that the present numerical optimization algorithm for multiple turbines is efficient and more advanced than conventional methods. The current method achieves the same accuracy as 3D CFD simulations, and the computational efficiency is not significantly higher than the Blade Element Momentum (BEM) theory. The paper shows that CFD for rotor design is possible using a high-performance single personal computer with multiple cores.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1056
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • wind turbine blade optimization
  • computational fluid dynamic
  • actuator disc
  • wake effect
  • Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm (NSGA-II)


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