Table of Contents
ISRN Renewable Energy
Volume 2012, Article ID 528418, 16 pages
Research Article

Aerodynamic Shape Optimization of a Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine Using Differential Evolution

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The University of Texas at Arlington, P.O. Box 19023, Arlington, TX 76019-0023, USA

Received 1 September 2011; Accepted 3 October 2011

Academic Editors: S. S. Kalligeros and S. Senthilarasu

Copyright © 2012 Travis J. Carrigan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study is to introduce and demonstrate a fully automated process for optimizing the airfoil cross-section of a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT). The objective is to maximize the torque while enforcing typical wind turbine design constraints such as tip speed ratio, solidity, and blade profile. By fixing the tip speed ratio of the wind turbine, there exists an airfoil cross-section and solidity for which the torque can be maximized, requiring the development of an iterative design system. The design system required to maximize torque incorporates rapid geometry generation and automated hybrid mesh generation tools with viscous, unsteady computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation software. The flexibility and automation of the modular design and simulation system allows for it to easily be coupled with a parallel differential evolution algorithm used to obtain an optimized blade design that maximizes the efficiency of the wind turbine.