Prediction of the wind turbine performance by using BEM with airfoil data extracted from CFD

Hua Yang, Wen Zhong Shen, Haoran Xu, Zedong Hong, Chao Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Blade element momentum (BEM) theory with airfoil data is a widely used technique for prediction of wind turbine aerodynamic performance, but the reliability of the airfoil data is an important factor for the prediction accuracy of aerodynamic loads and power. The airfoil characteristics used in BEM codes are mostly based on 2D wind tunnel measurements of airfoils with constant span. Due to 3D effects, a BEM code using airfoil data obtained directly from 2D wind tunnel measurements will not yield the correct loading and power. As a consequence, 2D airfoil characteristics have to be corrected before they can be used in a BEM code. In this article, we consider the MEXICO (Model EXperiments In Controlled cOnditions) rotor where airfoil data are extracted from CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) results. The azimuthally averaged velocity is used as the sectional velocity to define the angle of attack and the coefficient of lift and drag is determined by the forces on the blade. The extracted airfoil data are put into a BEM code without further corrections, and the calculated axial and tangential forces are compared to both computations using BEM with Shen's tip loss correction model and experimental data. The comparisons show that the recalculated forces by using airfoil data extracted from CFD have good agreements with the experiment. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRenewable Energy
Pages (from-to)107-115
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Airfoil data
  • Rotor aerodynamics
  • Wind turbine
  • Aerodynamics
  • Airfoils
  • Boundary element method
  • Experiments
  • Forecasting
  • Loading
  • Reliability theory
  • Wind tunnels
  • Wind turbines
  • Airfoil datum
  • Blade-element momentums
  • CFD (computational fluid dynamics)
  • Controlled conditions
  • Tip loss correction
  • Wind tunnel measurements
  • Wind turbine aerodynamics
  • Computational fluid dynamics

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