This paper presents a strategy to model the aerodynamic Gurney flap effect on two-dimensional airfoils and subsequently on the rotor blade performance of horizontal axis wind turbines.

The first part consists of the parametric investigation of 26 airfoil polar data-sets, derived from different, but comparable, wind tunnel experiments. They are evaluated and processed in terms of the lift and drag increase caused by Gurney flaps in comparison to each Baseline configuration. Consequently, a model is developed, transforming Baseline- into Gurney flap polar data for varying flap-heights. The results of the emerging Gurney Flap Polar Calculator are validated against the experimental lift and drag curves.

In the second part, the blade design of the NREL 5 MW Reference Turbine is modified by implementing polar data-sets of varying Gurney flap-heights, which are imported into the rotor simulation software QBlade. Thereupon, blade optimization strategies are examined regarding the two main Gurney flap applications on rotor blades: the retrofit and the design solution. The optimized retrofit solution on existing blades indicates power performance improvements, albeit at the expense of increasing structural loads. The optimized design solution on to-be-constructed blades, on the other hand, suggests chord-length reductions, while keeping the performance characteristics on a similar or even enhanced level.

It is concluded that aerodynamic improvements are achieved by relatively small Gurney flap-heights, which are applied at specific blade positions.

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