A practical engineering approach to the design and manufacturing of a mini kW blade wind turbine : definition, optimisation and CFD analysis

Frulla, G. and Gili, P. and Visone, M. and D'Oriano, V. and Lappa, M. (2015) A practical engineering approach to the design and manufacturing of a mini kW blade wind turbine : definition, optimisation and CFD analysis. Fluid Dynamics and Materials Processing, 11 (3). pp. 257-277. ISSN 1555-2578

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    Abstract

    A practical engineering approach to the design of a 60 kW wind generator with improved performances is presented. The proposed approach relies on the use of a specific, “ad hoc” developed software, OPTIWR (Optimization Software), expressly conceived to define an “optimum” rotor configuration in the framework of the blade element-momentum theory. Starting from an initial input geometric configuration (corresponding to an already existing 50 kW turbine) and for given values of the wind velocity Vwind and of the advance ratio X = Vwind/ΩR (where Ω is the blade rotational speed and R is the propeller radius), this software is used to determine iteratively the optimized distributions of chords and twists which can guarantee a constant value of the socalled axial induction factor a = 1/3 along the blade. The output configuration is then converted into a CAD model to be used, in turn, as input data for a CFD commercial software. With this tool the relative rotational motion between the fluid and the wind turbine are simulated resorting to a MRF (Moving Reference Frame) technique (for which continuity and momentum equations are solved in a rotating reference frame). The outcomes of the numerical simulations are then used to verify the improved performances of the optimized configuration and to which extent the CFD data agree with “expected” behaviours (i.e. performances predicted on the basis of the simplified model). Finally, some details about the construction technique used to turn the optimized configuration into an effective working prototype are provided, in conjunction with a critical discussion of suitable production methods for composite components.