Assessment of Blade Element Momentum Theory-based engineering models for wind turbine rotors under uniform steady inflow

Umberto Boatto*, Paul A. Bonnet, Francesco Avallone, Daniele Ragni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Blade Element Momentum Theory (BEMT) -based approaches provide 15%–20% inaccurate load predictions under uniform steady inflow. Inaccuracies were related to unclear aerodynamic mechanisms causing the Prandtl Tip-Root Loss (TRL) correction to fail at high Tip-Speed Ratio (TSR) and the ambiguous drag coefficient treatment under Stall Delay (SD). With this study, we provide an in-depth flow analysis to explain what physical mechanisms are poorly captured in TRL and SD corrections and offer a potential solution for the improvement of the Prandtl model. Corrections are assessed by comparison with RANS CFD simulations of the NREL 5MW rotor at its design TSR, TSR 4, and TSR 10. The Prandtl tip-loss correction provides 5%–15% higher loading than CFD at TSR 10. The reason is a lower (0.5°) downwash angle of attack, providing a 5%–10% lift coefficient overestimation. We recommend employing the tip-loss correction of Zhong, as it considers the lift coefficient reduction due to the tip-vortex downwash. The investigated Eggers SD correction predicts an incorrect drag coefficient at TSR 4, while a better agreement is found for the lift coefficient. We conclude that only the latter requires a correction for SD in the inboard blade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Aerodynamics
  • Blade Element Momentum Theory
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Stall delay
  • Tip loss
  • Wind turbine

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