Review of flow-control devices for wind-turbine performance enhancement

Md Zishan Akhter, Farag Khalifa Omar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


It is projected that, in the following years, the wind-energy industry will maintain its rapid growth over the last few decades. Such growth in the industry has been accompanied by the desirability and demand for larger wind turbines aimed at harnessing more power. However, the fact that massive turbine blades inherently experience increased fatigue and ultimate loads is no secret, which compromise their structural lifecycle. Accordingly, this demands higher overhaul-and-maintenance (O&M) costs, leading to higher cost of energy (COE). Introduction of flow-control devices on the wind turbine is a plausible solution to this issue. Flow-control mechanisms feature the ability to effectively enhance/suppress turbulence, advance/delay flow transition, and prevent/promote separation, leading to enhancement in aerodynamic and aeroacoustics performance, load alleviation and fluctuation suppression, and eventually wind turbine power augmentation. These flow-control devices are operated primarily under two schemes: passive and active control. Development and optimization of flow-control devices present the potential for reduction in the COE, which is a major challenge against traditional power sources. This review performs a comprehensive and up-to-date literature survey of selected flow-control devices, from their time of development up to the present. It contains a discussion on the current prospects and challenges faced by these devices, along with a comparative analysis centered on their aerodynamic controllability. General considerations and conclusive remarks are presented after the discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1268
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Aerodynamic enhancement
  • Flow control
  • Load alleviation
  • Noise attenuation
  • Power augmentation
  • Smart rotor control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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