Airfoil optimisation for vertical-axis wind turbines with variable pitch

Delphine De Tavernier*, Carlos Ferreira, Gerard van Bussel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
369 Downloads (Pure)


To advance the design of a multimegawatt vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT), application-specific airfoils need to be developed. In this research, airfoils are tailored for a VAWT with variable pitch. A genetic algorithm is used to optimise the airfoil shape considering a balance between the aerodynamic and structural performance of airfoils. At rotor scale, the aerodynamic objective aims to create the required optimal loading while minimising losses. The structural objective focusses on maximising the bending stiffness. Three airfoils from the Pareto front are selected and analysed using the actuator cylinder model and a prescribed-wake vortex code. The optimal pitch schedule is determined, and the loadings and power performance are studied for different tip-speed ratios and solidities. The comparison of the optimised airfoils with similar airfoils from the first generation shows a significant improvement in performance, and this proves the necessity to properly select the airfoil shape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-562
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • airfoil optimisation
  • optimal loading
  • variable pitch
  • vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT)


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