Numerical models for robust shape optimization of wind turbine blades

Volume 87, Part 2, March 2016, Pages 849–862

Optimization Methods in Renewable Energy Systems Design

Edited By Paul Kaufmann, Oliver Kramer, Frank Neumann and Markus Wagner


Fully generic modelling of 3-D blade shape using parametric entities.

Computationally efficient 3D CFD adopted for robust optimization.

Design excellence based on annual energy production for operating regime mix.

Financially realistic objective function is proposed.

Case studies with promising results for optimum performance blades.


A computational framework for the shape optimization of wind turbine blades is developed for variable operating conditions specified by local wind speed distributions. The numerical workflow consists of a genetic algorithm based optimizer, a computational fluid dynamics based simulator and a 3D geometric modeller. The developed numerical workflow also implements the coupling of the process flows as well as passing data amongst the individual applications including the corresponding data mining. Several approaches to modeling 3D shapes are developed and employed by the workflow. They include parametric curves defining 2D curves lofted into 3D shapes in combination with applying computational geometry operators and full 3D parametric surface models which enable generic 3D shapes to be represented. The proposed definitions of excellence include annual energy production for given wind speed distributions and net-present-value and internal-rate-of-return based indicators as potential constituents of the fitness functions. Several case studies are presented with promising results towards the aspired custom-shaped wind turbine blades for optimum performance for any given specific location. The developed computational workflow can therefore be seen as a numerical device for custom optimization of performance of renewable energy systems.


  • Parametric 3D shape optimization;
  • Robust optimization;
  • Wind turbine;
  • CFD

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