This work presents a novel framework for the aerodynamic design and optimization of blades for small horizontal axiswind turbines (WT). The framework is based on a state-of-the-art blade element momentum model, which is complemented with the XFOIL 6.96 software in order to provide an estimate of the sectional blade aerodynamics. The framework considers an innovative nested-hybrid solution procedure based on two metaheuristics, the virtual gene genetic algorithm and the simulated annealing algorithm, to provide a near-optimal solution to the problem. The objective of the study is to maximize the aerodynamic efficiency of small WT (SWT) rotors for a wide range of operational conditions. The design variables are (1) the airfoil shape at the different blade span positions and the radial variation of the geometrical variables of (2) chord length, (3) twist angle, and (4) thickness along the blade span. A wind tunnel validation study of optimized rotors based on the NACA 4-digit airfoil series is presented. Based on the experimental data, improvements in terms of the aerodynamic efficiency, the cut-in wind speed, and the amount of material used during themanufacturing process were achieved. Recommendations for the aerodynamic design of SWT rotors are provided based on field experience.
Mathematical Problems in Engineering, 2014, Vol 2014