The looped airfoil wind turbine (LAWT™) is a patented new technology by EverLift Wind Tecnology, Inc. for generating power from wind. It takes advantage of the superior lift force of a linearly traveling wing compared to the rotating blades in conventional wind turbine configurations. Compared to horizontal and vertical axis wind turbines, the LAWT™ can be manufactured with minimal cost because it does not require complex gear systems and its blades have a constant profile along their length . These considerations make the LAWT™ economically attractive for small-scale and decentralized power generation in rural areas. Each LAWT™ is estimated to generate power in the range of 10 kW to 1 MW. Due to various advantages, it is meaningful to determine the maximum power generation of a LAWT™ by optimizing the structural layout.
In this study, CFD simulations were conducted using ANSYS Fluent to determine the total lift and drag coefficient for a cascade of airfoils. The k-kl-ω turbulence model was used to account for flow in the laminar-turbulent transition region. Given the lift and drag coefficients and the kinematics of the system, an analytical formula for the power generation of the LAWT™ was developed. General formulas were obtained for the average lift and drag coefficients so that the total power could be predicted for any number of airfoils in LAWT™. The spacing between airfoils was identified as the key design parameter that affected the power generation of the LAWT™. The results show that a marked increase in total power can be achieved if the optimum spacing between the airfoils is used.