Intracycle RPM control for vertical axis wind turbines

Mohammad Sadman Sakib, D. Todd Griffith, Sanower Hossain, Saeid Bayat, James T. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The wind energy market is currently dominated by horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs); however, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are emerging as a design alternative, especially for deep-water offshore siting due to their low center of gravity, ease of access to drivetrain components, and overall simplicity. Due to the absence of a pitch mechanism in large-scale Darrieus VAWTs, stall control has often been used to manage power and loads. Introducing a pitching mechanism in H-type VAWTs has been studied, but this diminishes the mechanical simplicity advantage, and the use of a pitching mechanism in a large-scale Darrieus-type VAWT is not practical. This work examines an innovative, alternative method to control the rotor dynamics of a large-scale 5 MW VAWT to maximize power while constraining loads without introducing any new or complex mechanical elements. This control strategy is termed intracycle revolution per minute (RPM) control, where the rotational speed of the turbine is allowed to vary in an optimal fashion with the azimuthal location of blades as opposed to typical constant RPM operation. An optimization framework is formulated for an open-loop optimal control problem and solved to maximize power subject to constraints on aerodynamic design loads. Results are presented to demonstrate the benefits and the performance limits of intracycle RPM control for large-scale 5 MW Darrieus VAWTs, namely, (1) power production (quantified in terms of AEP) that can be increased subject to baseline load limits and (2) opportunities to significantly increase AEP or decrease loads via intracycle RPM control that are examined for both two-bladed and three-bladed VAWTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-224
Number of pages23
JournalWind Energy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • VAWT
  • annual energy production (AEP)
  • intracycle RPM control
  • optimal control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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