Modelling the aerodynamics of vertical-axis wind turbines in unsteady wind conditions

Frank Scheurich, Richard Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)
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Most numerical and experimental studies of the performance of vertical-axis wind turbines have been conducted with the rotors in steady, and thus somewhat artificial, wind conditions - with the result that turbine aerodynamics, under varying wind conditions, are still poorly understood. The Vorticity
Transport Model has been used to investigate the aerodynamic performance
and wake dynamics, both in steady and unsteady wind conditions, of three
different vertical-axis wind turbines: one with a straight-bladed configuration, another with a curved-bladed configuration and another with a helically
twisted configuration. The turbines with non-twisted blades are shown to be
somewhat less efficient than the turbine with helically twisted blades when
the rotors are operated at constant rotational speed in unsteady wind conditions. In steady wind conditions, the power coefficients that are produced by both the straight- and the curved-bladed turbines vary considerably within one rotor revolution because of the continuously varying angle of attack on the blades and, thus, the inherent unsteadiness in the blade aerodynamic loading. These variations are much larger, and thus far more significant, than those that are induced by the unsteadiness in the wind conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-107
JournalWind Energy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2013


  • vertical axis wind turbine
  • unsteady wind conditions
  • numerical simulation
  • vorticity transport model

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