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Modern wind turbines display only 40% efficiency in harnessing the kinetic energy of wind for electrical generation. Nature has provided engineers with the concept of tubercles. Current tubercle-lined designs require complete replacement of the turbine blade, at a high cost, thus a need exists for a retrofit option to lower the cost of implementation. To analyze the effectiveness of a retrofit versus a fully tubercle-lined airfoil, InVentus obtained a virtual model of a standard turbine blade, then constructed tubercles on a duplicate model, comparing aerodynamic test results with those of fully tubercle-lined designs. This research shows that through further testing and model optimization, such as utilizing more tubercles per blade, a standard turbine blade retrofitted with tubercle units can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing wind turbines in similar form to complete replacement of blades, at a far lower cost.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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Great Problems Seminar
Bacon, Alex; Beall, Jackson; Casarotto, Athena; and McKenna, Ryan, "InVentus: Optimization of Wind Energy" (2011). Great Problems Seminar Posters (All Posters, All Years). 104.