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The impact of ice formation on vertical axis wind turbine performance and aerodynamics.

Gerrie, Sean; Islam, Sheikh Zahidul; Gerrie, Cameron; Droubi, Ghazi; Asim, Taimoor


Sean Gerrie

Cameron Gerrie


This study investigated the impact of ice formation on the performance and aerodynamics of a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT). This is an area that is becoming more prevalent as VAWTs are installed alongside horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) in high altitude areas with cold and wet climates where ice is likely to form. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were performed on a VAWT without icing in Ansys to understand its performance before introducing ice shapes obtained through the LewInt ice accretion software and repeating simulations in Ansys. These simulations were verified by performing a wind tunnel experiment on a scale VAWT model with and without 3D printed ice shapes attached to the blades. The clean blade simulations found that wind speed had little impact on the performance, while reducing the blade scale severely reduced performance. The ice formation simulations found that increasing the icing time or liquid water content (LWC) led to increased ice thickness. Additionally, glaze ice and rime ice conditions were investigated, and it was found that rime ice conditions that occur in lower temperatures caused more ice to form. The simulations with the attached ice shapes found a maximum reduction in performance of 40%, and the experiments found that the ice shapes made the VAWT unable to produce power.


GERRIE, S., ISLAM, S.Z., GERRIE, C., DROUBI, G. and ASIM, T. 2023. The impact of ice formation on vertical axis wind turbine performance and aerodynamics. Wind [online], 3(1), pages 16-24. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 27, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 27, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 27, 2023
Journal Wind
Electronic ISSN 2674-032X
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 1
Pages 16-34
Keywords Vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT); Computational fluid dynamics (CFD); Wind tunnel; Ice formation; Transient simulation; Rotating turbine; Power; Performance; Aerodynamics
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