Investigation of Airfoil Profiles for Use in Self-starting, Small-scale, Low Reynolds Number Vertical Axis Wind Turbines

By Charles Amoge Ikonwa.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 2, 2016 $US5.00

The selection of an appropriate airfoil profile is one of the most important considerations in order to improve the aerodynamic performance of a fixed-pitch straight-bladed vertical axis wind turbine (SB-VAWT). The aim of this paper is to investigate the aerodynamic performance of different airfoil profiles that have the potential to improve the self-starting performance of a small-scale fixed-pitch SB-VAWT. Using experimental data sets of low Reynolds number, a preliminary assessment of different airfoil profiles were examined. Seven potential airfoils were identified and compared with the most widely used conversional symmetric airfoil based on a potential flow model theory. The results indicate that the conventional symmetrical airfoil is unsuitable for self-starting of small-scale SB-VAWT. Further, the study found that no particular asymmetrical airfoil has all the desirable characteristics for self-starting. However, two asymmetrical airfoils, namely DU-06-W-200 and S 1210, showed exceptional aerodynamic performance and were further analysed to determine their torque output for a typical wind speed of 5m/s. The results show that the DU06-W-200 possesses a high starting torque and could be an ideal airfoil to eliminate the problem of self-starting for small-scale SB-VAWT.

Keywords: Self-starting, Vertical Axis Wind Turbine, Straight-blade, Low Reynolds Number, Small-scale

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.33-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 2, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.403MB)).

Mr Charles Amoge Ikonwa

Research Student, Centre for Integrated Energy Research, Faculty of Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK