The aerodynamic performance of an upwind, three-bladed, small horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) rotor of 2.2 m in diameter was investigated experimentally and theoretically in order to assess the applicability of the blade element momentum (BEM) theory for modeling the rotor performance for the case of small HAWTs. The wind turbine has been tested in the low and high speed sections of the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel 2 (BLWT2) at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in order to determine the power curve over a wide range of wind speeds. Afterward, the BEM theory has been implemented to evaluate the rotor performance and to investigate three-dimensionality effects on power prediction by the theory. Comparison between the theoretical and experimental results shows that the overall prediction of the theory is within an acceptable range of accuracy. However, the BEM theory prediction for the case of small wind turbines is not as accurate as the prediction for larger wind turbines.

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