OPTIMIZATION OF A WIND TURBINE ROTOR WITH VARIABLE AIRFOIL SHAPE VIA A GENETIC ALGORITHM
Creators:Vesel, Richard, Jr.
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Aerospace Engineering Honors Theses; 2009
Two important criteria for wind turbine performance are the power coefficient, defined as the portion of the wind energy passing through the swept rotor area that is captured by the rotor, and the noise level. This thesis accomplishes the optimization of a wind turbine rotor operating in a uniform wind of 10 m/s with respect to these two competing performance measures via a Genetic Algorithm (GA), taking into account the airfoil shape, defined at three locations throughout the rotor span, chord distribution, twist distribution, RPM, and pitch for a 74.6m rotor. Airfoil shape is defined by Bezier curves with 26 control points: two points fixed at the trailing edge and 24 points with fixed xcoordinates and variable y-coordinates. Twist and chord are each defined at eight spanwise locations. Optimal RPM and pitch are determined in the course of the wind turbine simulation for each rotor, but are not maintained in the GA as part of the genome of a rotor. The open source design codes XFOIL, FAST, and NAFNoise are utilized for aerodynamic, wind turbine performance, and noise calculations, respectively. The GA proves effective in creating diverse solutions with high efficiency across a range of uniform wind speeds as well as greatly diminished noise. Two optimized rotors produced by the GA are analyzed, showing improvement over the GE 1.5sle, an industry standard wind turbine of approximately the same rotor diameter as that examined in this work. The optimized rotor yields a 7.6% increase in annual power production, equating to about $46,000/year at residential rates.
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