The current trend in the wind power market is to develop large diameter rotors in order to maximize the power extraction from the wind. Those rotors exhibit issues related to blade deflection and structural integrity that can be mitigated implementing design variations that were present on the early wind turbine designs, such as rotors with less than three blades located behind the tower in downwind configuration. This work assesses the aerodynamic performance of a downwind two-bladed wind turbine based on CFD simulations coupled with the Actuator Line Model (ALM). This design is compared with the MEXICO project upwind three-bladed wind turbine, for which experimental data is available. The simulations showed good agreement with measurements especially upstream the rotor and for higher inlet velocities. Furthermore, the downwind configuration was successfully modeled using ALM and the performance prediction of the turbines was physically accurate since realistic variations were obtained between the evaluated wind turbines and none of their performance coefficients exceeded Betz theoretical limit.

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