Multipoint high-fidelity CFD-based aerodynamic shape optimization of a 10MW wind turbine

Mads H. Aa Madsen*, Frederik Zahle, Niels N. Sørensen, Joaquim R. R. A. Martins

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    The wind energy industry relies heavily on CFD to analyze new turbine designs. To utilize CFD further upstream the design process where lower fidelity methods such as BEM are more common, requires the development of new tools. Tools that utilize numerical optimization are particularly valuable because they reduce the reliance on design by trial and error. We present the first comprehensive 3D CFD adjoint-based shape optimization of a modern 10&thisp;MW offshore wind turbine. The optimization problem is aligned with a case study from IEA Wind Task 37, making it possible to compare our findings with the BEM results from this case study, allowing us to determine the value of design optimization based on high-fidelity models. The comparison shows, that the overall design trends suggested by the two models do agree, and that it is particularly valuable to consult the high-fidelity model in areas such as root and tip where BEM is inaccurate. In addition, we compare two different CFD solvers to quantify the effect of modeling compressibility and to estimate the accuracy of the chosen grid resolution and order of convergence of the solver. Meshes up to 14 · 106 cells are used in the optimization whereby flow details are resolved. The present work shows that it is now possible to successfully optimize modern wind turbines aerodynamically under normal operating conditions using RANS models. The key benefit of a 3D RANS approach is that it is possible to optimize the blade planform and cross-sectional shape simultaneously, thus tailoring the shape to the actual 3D flow over the rotor, which is particularly important near the root and tip of the blade. This work does not address evaluation of extreme loads used for structural sizing, where BEM-based methods have proven very accurate, and therefore will likely remain the method of choice.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWind Energy Science
    Pages (from-to)163-192
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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