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The Straight-Bladed Morphing Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

[+] Author Affiliations
David MacPhee

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Asfaw Beyene

San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Paper No. POWER2016-59192, pp. V001T08A004; 6 pages
  • ASME 2016 Power Conference collocated with the ASME 2016 10th International Conference on Energy Sustainability and the ASME 2016 14th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2016 Power Conference
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, June 26–30, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division, Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division, Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5021-3
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Blade pitch control has been extremely important for the development of Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs), allowing for greater efficiency over a wider range of operational regimes when compared to rigid-bladed designs. For Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs), blade pitching is inherently more difficult due to a dependence of attack angle on turbine armature location, shaft speed, and wind speed. As a result, there have been very few practical pitch control schemes put forward for VAWTs, which may be a major reason why this wind turbine type enjoys a much lower market share as compared to HAWTs. To alleviate this issue, the flexible, straight-bladed vertical-axis turbine is presented, which can passively adapt its geometry to local aerodynamic loadings and serves as a low-cost blade pitch control strategy increasing efficiency and startup capabilities. Using two-dimensional fluid-structure action simulations, this novel concept is compared to an identical rigid one and is proven to be superior in terms of power coefficient due to decreased torque minima. Moreover, due to the flexible nature of the blades, the morphing turbine achieves less severe oscillatory loadings. As a result, the morphing blade design is expected to not only increase efficiency but also system longevity without additional system costs usually associated with active pitch control schemes.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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