Aerodynamic design optimization of wind turbine airfoils under aleatory and epistemic uncertainty

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This paper presents different approaches to optimize wind turbine airfoils in an uncertain scenario. The approaches are specifically applied to the aerodynamic design optimization of a wind turbine airfoil accounting for the uncertainty in setting up the XFOIL's NCRIT constant: a parameter that is considered affected by a chain of aleatory and epistemic uncertainty. Subject to a set of aerodynamic and structural constraints, the uncertain response of the airfoil is optimized by means of both probability- and imprecise probability-based approaches. These solutions are compared with a reference airfoil optimized with a conventional design approach, in which the treatment of uncertainty is carried out in a simplistic fashion. Once evaluated in the probabilistic scenario, the airfoil designed with the conventional approach still achieves the largest aerodynamic efficiency mean. This airfoil is however affected by the largest performance sensitivity to NCRIT variations. The airfoils optimized by means of uncertainty-based approaches instead achieve larger performance robustness and reliability than the airfoil optimized with the conventional approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number042011
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
EventThe Science of Making Torque from Wind 2018 - Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
Duration: 20 Jun 201822 Jun 2018


  • aerodynamic design
  • wind turbine
  • airfoils
  • uncertainty
  • optimization
  • wind energy
  • reliability


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