The work presented in this paper used rigorous 3D flow-field analysis combined with multi-objective constrained shape design optimization for the design of bladelet (winglet) configurations for a three-blade propeller type wind turbine. The fluid flow analysis in this work was performed using 3D, steady, incompressible, turbulent flow Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations in the rotating frame of reference for each combination of a given wind turbine blade and a varying bladelet geometry. The free stream uniform wind speed in all cases was assumed to be 9 m s−1 and rotational speed was 12 rpm. These were off-design conditions for this rotor. The three simultaneous design optimization objectives were: a) maximize the coefficient of power, b) minimize the coefficient of thrust, and c) minimize twisting moment around the blade axis. The bladelet geometry was fully defined by using a small number of parameters. The optimization was carried out by creating a multi-dimensional response surface for each of the simultaneous objectives. The response surfaces were based on radial basis functions, where the support points were designs analyzed using the high fidelity CFD analysis of the full blade + bladelet geometry. The response surfaces were then coupled to a multi-objective optimization algorithm. The predicted values of the objective functions for the optimum designs were then again validated using the high fidelity computational fluid dynamics analysis code.
Results for a Pareto optimized bladelet on a given blade indicate that more than 4% increase in the coefficient of power at minimal thrust force penalty is possible compared to the same wind turbine rotor blade without a bladelet.