Airfoil Selection Methodology for Small Wind Turbines

Valentin Salgado, Cesar Troya, Gustavo Moreno, Jaime Molina


On wind turbine technology, the aerodynamic performance is fundamental to increase efficiency. Nowadays there are several databases with airfoils designed and simulated for different applications, that is why it is necessary to select those suitable for a specific application. This work presents a new methodology for airfoil selection used in feasibility and optimization of small wind turbines with low cut-in speed. On the first stage airfoils data is tested on XFOIL software to check its compatibility with the simulator; then, arithmetic mean criteria is recursively used to discard underperformed airfoils; the best airfoil data was exported to Matlab for a deeper analysis. In the second part, data points were interpolated using “splines” to calculate glide ratio and stability across multiple angles of attack, those who present a bigger steadiness were conserved. As a result, 3 airfoils, from an initial group of 189, were selected due to its performance above the average as exemplification of the methodology.

Total Views: 466


Airfoil Selection Methodology; Low cut-in speed; Matlab Script; Small Wind Turbines; Spline Interpolation; XFOIL Simulation

Full Text:



Richard E. Smalley. Our Energy Challenge. Senate Committee on Energy and Neutral Resources. April 2004 (Conference) URL:

Foulke L. A Look at Nuclear Science and Technology. University of Pittsburg 2014

Pitteloud Jean-Daniel, Gsänger– Small Wind World Report. World Wind Energy Association. 2016 (Standards and Reports) URL:

Commission, I. E. IEC 61400 - 2 Design Requirements for Small Wind turbines. Geneva: International Electrotechnical Commission. 2008. (Standards and Reports) URL:

Commission, I. E. IEC 61400-1 Wind Turbines - Design Requirements. Geneva: International Electrotechnical Commission. 2008. (Standards and Reports) URL:

Intelligent Energy – Europe programme. Catalogue of European Urban Wind Turbine Manufacturers 2005 (Standards and Reports)

WINEUR. Urban Wind Turbines: Technology review. Urbanwind. April 2007 (Technology review) URL:

UIUC Airfoil Data Site. Retrieved 21 June 2016. URL:

Wind Turbine Airfoils. Retrieved 21 June 2016. URL:

Drela, Mark. XFOIL: An analysis and design system for low Reynolds number airfoils. Low Reynolds number aerodynamics. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 1989, pp. 1-12. (Article) URL:].

Drela, M., & Giles, M. B. ISES: A Two-Dimensional Viscous Aerodynamic Design and Analysis Code. AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, NV, U.S.A. Marck 1987. (Article). URL:

Fuglsang, P., Antoniou, I., Sørensen, N. N., & Aagaard Madsen, H. Validation of a wind tunnel testing facility for blade surface pressure measurements. 1998. (Book) URL:

Mauclere X. Automatic 2D Airfoil Generation, Evaluation and Optimisation using MATLAB and XFOIL. DTU Mechanical Engineering. August 2009 URL:

Chen, Weisheng, and Luis P. Bernal. Design and Performance of Low Reynolds Number Airfoils for Solar-Powered Flight. AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit. 2008. (Conference Paper) URL:

Burton, T., Jenkins, N., Sharpe, D., & Bossanyi, E. Wind Energy Handbook 2nd ed. Chichester: Wiley. 2011. (Book) URL:


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Online ISSN: 1309-0127;;

IJRER is cited in SCOPUS, EBSCO, WEB of SCIENCE (Thomson Reuters)