Paper presented to the 3rd Southern African Solar Energy Conference, South Africa, 11-13 May, 2015.
Various research efforts have been directed towards the design and re-design of wind turbine systems. This is in order to have more efficient, better performing and cost effective turbine systems. Based on this, efforts have been focused on wind turbine rotor design with emphasis placed on its aerodynamics. This is because the important criterion of a wind turbine rotor is the airfoil. It is the element that produces the forces that makes the turbine rotate. This research builds on existing knowledge and aims to further deepen knowledge in the field of wind turbine rotor design. The study designed and analysed a new airfoil for use in a small horizontal axis wind turbine. It employed the flow stage airfoil behaviour together with analytical software tools that include XFLR5, AirfoilPrep_v2.02.01, WT_Perf, and MATLAB.. Three well known and tested airfoils were employed and the coordinates were interpolated to create a new, more efficient and better performing small wind turbine rotor airfoil. The outcome showed the new airfoil performs better with good glide ratio over longer angle range, chord distribution and blade twist among other things. The parameters of the new airfoil were such that 10.17%, 26.49%, 6.26% and 45.0% of the chord characterised the maximum thickness and its position, and the maximum camber and its position respectively.