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Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

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Energy and exergy efciency comparison of horizontal and vertical axis

wind turbines
K. Pope, I. Dincer, G.F. Naterer*
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada L1H 7K4

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 11 February 2009
Accepted 14 February 2010
Available online 25 March 2010

In this paper, an energy and exergy analysis is performed on four different wind power systems,
including both horizontal and vertical axis wind turbines. Signicant variability in turbine designs and
operating parameters are encompassed through the selection of systems. In particular, two airfoils (NACA
63(2)-215 and FX 63-137) commonly used in horizontal axis wind turbines are compared with two
vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs). A Savonius design and Zephyr VAWT benet from operational
attributes in wind conditions that are unsuitable for airfoil type designs. This paper analyzes each system
with respect to both the rst and second laws of thermodynamics. The aerodynamic performance of each
system is numerically analyzed by computational uid dynamics software, FLUENT. A difference in rst
and second law efciencies of between 50 and 53% is predicted for the airfoil systems, whereas 44e55%
differences are predicted for the VAWT systems. Key design variables are analyzed and the predicted
results are discussed. The exergetic efciency of each wind turbine is studied for different geometries,
design parameters and operating conditions. It is shown that the second law provides unique insight
beyond a rst law analysis, thereby providing a useful design tool for wind power development.
! 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Wind turbine

1. Introduction
Wind power systems have achieved signicant improvement in
operating efciencies, making them more economically competitive with other energy generation techniques. Along with the need
for increased sustainability in the energy sector, wind energy
systems are increasing their market share faster than any other
renewable energy system [1]. Horizontal axis wind turbines
(HAWTs) have emerged as the dominant technology in modern
wind energy technologies. In comparison to a vertical axis wind
turbine (VAWT), a HAWT can achieve higher energy efciencies,
thereby increasing the power production and reducing system
expense per kW of power generated. But as the opportunity to
expand wind capacity increases, it is important that all aspects of
this sustainable and environmentally benign technology are fully
developed. VAWTs have demonstrated an ability to fulll certain
energy generation requirements that cannot be fullled by HAWTs.
A HAWT can achieve higher efciencies, but only if the energy
quality of the wind is high. High wind turbulence, wind uctuations, and high directional variability can cause signicant problems for a HAWT, whereas VAWTs can operate well.
* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (K. Pope), ibrahim.dincer@ (I. Dincer), (G.F. Naterer).
0960-1481/$ e see front matter ! 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Local or distributed power generation has attracted signicant

attention in recent years. The resurgence of this old technology is
partly attributed to the need for environmentally benign and
sustainable energy systems in smaller communities. This includes
diversifying the generation techniques and increasing the system
efciencies, while minimizing the environmental impact. Onsite
power generation can overcome transmission losses and land costs.
However, densely populated locations and urban centers generally
coincide with a low quality of wind source, including high turbulence, uctuations in intensity, and highly variable direction of the
ow streams [2]. Variable pitch blades can improve turbine
performance by varying the angle of attack to coincide with the
various wind conditions, but this approach is generally not
economically practical for small installations [3]. Fluctuating winds
can greatly reduce a HAWT's performance as long as idling periods
are experienced at start-up when the rotor accelerates slowly. For
a small HAWT, a past study reported it to be 50 s at a wind speed of
8 m/s [4]. Certain VAWT designs have the ability to operate in these
harsh operating conditions. However, there is no clear method to
compare these different turbine designs in various wind conditions
that are inherent to the different operating regions.
Typical design methodologies employ the rst law of thermodynamics for wind power system analysis and design. Empirical
tests and experience must often be used to improve system
performance and implementation. The process irreversibilities are

K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113


Area [m2]
Number of blades [e]
Specic heat [kJ/kg K]
Power coefcient [e]
Energy [kJ]
Specic exergy [kJ/kg]
Exergy rate [kW]
Irreversibilities [kW]
Kinetic energy [kJ]
Mass [kg]
Power [kW]
Radius [m]
Time [s]
Temperature [! C]
Volume [m3]
Velocity [m/s]
Work [kJ]
Work rate [W]
Mass ow rate [kg/s]

not represented in the analysis [5]. A theoretical maximum efciency can be predicted, but irreversibilities are not identied. With
a rst law methodology, the designer includes a predetermined
design factor to account for the irreversibilities. Past experimental
data reported that actual ow across a wind turbine rotor is about
20% slower than the ideal ow [6]. Predicting turbine performance
with complicated variations in operating demands and design
congurations reveal the deciencies with this strategy [7]. In
contrast, the second law denes a quality of energy and quantity of
irreversibility or loss associated with the thermodynamic process.
In this paper, the concept of entropy generation will be used to
describe the magnitude of energy dissipation. Higher levels of
entropy generation are associated with a lower level of useful
energy. The second law requires that the amount of entropy in an
isolated system will always increase [8]. This principle can be
applied to a variety of engineering applications.
Entropy-based design and exergy analysis have been shown to
identify the maximum theoretical capability of energy system
performance in various applications. For example, it can provide
component-level energy management to improve diffuser performance [9] and reduce voltage losses within a fuel cell [10]. Exergy
analysis has been used to diagnose inefciencies of power plants
[11], minimize the carryover leakage irreversibilities in a power
plant regenerative air heater [12], and many other power plant
associated applications. These studies have shown exergy analysis
to be very useful for improving a wide range of thermo uid
systems. Exergy analysis also provides a design tool for increased
accuracy and more efcient performance.
However, there are few examples in past literature that pertain
to wind exergy. Through an energy and exergy analysis of the
characteristics of wind energy, it was found that differences
between energy and exergy efciencies are approximately 20e24%
at low wind speeds and approximately 10e15% at high wind speeds
[13]. Sahin et al. [14] developed a useful exergetic analysis technique for determining the exergetic efciency of a wind turbine.
The technique utilizes the wind chill temperature associated with
wind velocity to predict the entropy generation of the process.
Better turbine design and location selection can be achieved with
the aid of such exergy analysis.
In this paper, a comparison of second law efciencies for four
different wind power systems will be presented. The analysis is




Energy efciency [e]

Tip speed ratio [e]
Air density [kg/m3]
Approach angle [! ]
Exergy efciency [e]
Humidity ratio [e]

Denition 2 (exergy)
Benz limit
Kinetic energy
Horizontal vector
Vertical vector

intended to compare turbines that have different performance

advantages in various operating conditions. A parametric study
investigates the selection and associated predictions of key variables
for each system. This paper will develop a second law analysis of wind
power for potentially valuable utility in the wind energy industry.
2. Wind energy system description
Four systems will be investigated in this paper: two airfoils
commonly used for horizontal axis wind turbines [15,16] and two
VAWTs (Savonius and Zephyr) operating under low quality wind
properties (see Figs. 1 and 2). These include (i) a NACA 63(2)-215
airfoil developed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and (ii) the Wortmann FX 63-137. The VAWTs
include (iii) a conventional Savonius design and (iv) a more
complex Zephyr VAWT prototype. A numerical model for each
system is developed for the uid ow analysis. Computational Fluid
Dynamics software, FLUENT [17], is used to predict the operation of
each system. These numerical models will offer insight into the
uid ow characteristics for each of the different turbines. Data
gained from the numerical predictions will be used to examine the
second law efciencies of wind power systems.
2.1. System 1: NACA 63(2)-215 airfoil
As presented in Fig. 3a, the NACA 63(2)-215 airfoil is a conventional design that creates lift with low wind speeds, making it
suitable for use in wind turbine blades [15,16]. Throughout the
following analysis, the approach angle (4) is estimated to be 10! . The
incoming components of velocity are Vx 9.85 m/s and Vy 1.74 m/s.
The X and Y force vectors for the lift and drag components become
XL #sin(10! ) #0.174, YL cos(10! ) 0.985, XD cos
(10! ) 0.985, and YD sin(10! ) 0.174, respectively. Table 1
summarizes the system assumptions used in the numerical analysis.
The prole of the NACA 63(2)-215 airfoil is discretized with
a structured quadrilateral cell scheme. The mesh is rened from an
average cell edge length of 260 mm at the outer region, to 14 mm at
the airfoil surface. Rened to a total of 12,150 cells, with an average
cell size of 0.061 m2, produces results that are independent of
further grid renement [18]. The governing equations are the
incompressible form of NaviereStokes equations. The standard k-3


K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

Fig. 1. Zephyr vertical axis wind turbine (a) illustration and (b) geometrical variables.

model is used to simulate turbulence in the ow eld. This is

a widely used model that provides reasonable accuracy and
a robust ability to represent a wide range of ow regimes [17]. The
features of the airfoil solver are summarized below:

Finite volume method with a segregated solver;

Standard ke3 turbulence model;
Standard wall functions for near-wall treatment;
Air density is constant, 1.225 kg/m3;
Air viscosity is constant, 1.7894 % 10#5 kg/m s;
Backow turbulence intensity, 12%;
Velocity-inlet e velocity specication method;
Inlet x-velocity, 9.85 m/s;
Inlet y-velocity, 1.74 m/s;
Airfoil roughness height, 500 mm;
Pressureevelocity coupling e SIMPLE;
Turbulence kinetic energy e second order upwind; and
Turbulence dissipation rate e second order upwind.

Fig. 2. Sample mesh discretization of VAWT e a) rotor, b) stator and surrounding subdomain.

2.2. System 2: FX 63-137 airfoil

This airfoil has been examined widely in past literature. Its
characteristics will be used to investigate the aerodynamic behaviour of wind turbines [15,16]. In comparison to other common wind
turbine airfoil proles, this design provides a relatively complex
conguration. The pronounced tail curvature provides a substantial
contrast to System 1 that will be evaluated (see Fig. 3b).
The same solver features, including the governing and turbulence equations, as with System 1 e NACA 63(2)-215 e will be used
for this system. Variations in airfoil surface roughness are presented in Fig. 4. Convergence in both lift and drag coefcients are

Fig. 3. Velocity contours (m/s) for (a) NACA 63(2)-215 and (b) FX 63-137 airfoils.

K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113


Table 1
Signicant system assumptions.

NACA 63(2)-215 airfoil

FX 63-137 airfoil
Savonius VAWT
Zephyr VAWT

V1 [m/s]

Radius [m]

Area [m2]





p % 12
p % 12

f(CL, CD)
f(CL, CD)
f(T, l)
f(T, l)



evident after 250 mm. For both airfoils, a CL/CD ratio will be used for
the power coefcient predictions from a roughness height of
500 mm. The mesh is rened from an average of 289 mm at the
outer region, to 0.014 mm at the airfoil surface. It is rened to
12,195 cells, with an average cell size of 0.061 m2.
2.3. System 3: savonius VAWT
The Savonius VAWT is a common design that is capable of
reaching substantial efciencies. There is signicant past literature
on this design. For example, extensive experiments were performed by Saha [19], whereby 16 Savonius models with identical
aspect ratios were compared in wind tunnel tests. The study
included an investigation of the optimum number of rotor blades
(two or three), number of stages (one, two, or three), and the best
blade shape (twisted or semicircular). The author found that a twostage design, with two twisted rotor blades, preformed the best,
achieving a maximum power coefcient of 0.32. Biswas et al. [20]
investigated experimentally the overlap effect of rotors on a Savonius wind turbine. The authors achieved a power coefcient of 0.37.
A hybrid Savonius e Darrieus turbine achieved a maximum Cpower
of 0.51, in a comparative study described by Gupta et al. [21]. In the
current paper, a basic semicircular design will be used, with a 10%
overlap (see Fig. 5a).
The domain is discretized into 13,693 cells with an average cell
size of 0.019 m2. The mesh is rened from 500 mm at the boundary,
to 50 mm at the rotor surface. Again, the same governing and
turbulence equations, as for previous cases, will be used for this
system. However, considerable differences in some solver features
are required. A transient mesh formulation is used to simulate the
rotor motion. This allows the rotor to rotate 50 time steps per
revolution, with a time step size of 0.0209 s. The numerically predicted average moment induced on the rotor blades will be used to

Fig. 5. Velocity contours (m/s) for (a) Savonius and (b) Zephyr VAWTs.

determine the power coefcient. The wall roughness height is

assumed negligible, and the incoming velocity is simulated to be
Vx 10 m/s and Vy 0.
2.4. System 4: Zephyr VAWT
As illustrated in Figs. 1, 2 and 5b, the Zephyr turbine represents
a more complex VAWT. The features of this turbine allow it to
perform in both low wind and high turbulence conditions. Thus,
several turbines can operate in close proximity of each other in
urban areas. The maximum power coefcient of this turbine is
relatively low, in comparison to other systems. However, it is an
ideal candidate to operate in low quality winds and offers a good
contrast to the Savonius VAWT and airfoil HAWT systems. The
stator sub-domain is discretized with an edge length of 191 mm at
the exterior, which is gradually rened to an edge length of
6.35 mm at the rotor. This yields approximately 117,000 cells, with
an average area of 217 mm2. At this resolution, the results become
independent of grid spacing [22]. The analysis of this system
employs the same solver features, including the governing and
turbulence equations, as the Savonius VAWT.
3. Formulation of rst and second law efciencies

Fig. 4. Airfoil performance with variable surface roughness.

This section will compare the rst law efciency (h) with the
second law efciency (J). The energy efciency is dened as the
ratio of useful work to the difference in kinetic energy,


K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

_ out


The exergy efciency refers to the ratio of useful work to the

exergy of the wind,


J _ out


In general, the energy balance equation for a wind turbine can

be represented by

KE1 Wout KE2


where KE is the kinetic energy of the ow stream and Wout is the

useful work produced by the turbine. The equation describes the
energy content of air as it passes through a two-dimensional plane.
It is based on the kinetic energy of wind, which is

KE mV 2


where KE is energy, m is mass, and V is the wind velocity.

The mass of wind is difcult to measure, so a more convenient
variable is volume (U), as related to mass by m r U, where r is the
density of air. The volume is expressed by the product of the crosssectional area perpendicular to the wind (A) and the horizontal
length of incoming wind (L). The horizontal length of incoming
wind is then expressed as L U t. This re-arrangement results in the
more convenient following expression,


rAtV 3


Since power is related to energy by P E/t, the above expression is

more commonly used in the following form,

rAV 3


where P is the magnitude of power, r is the density of air, A is the

cross-sectional area perpendicular to wind, and V is the wind
velocity. This expression describes total kinetic power of a wind
stream. It is used for the production of wind power maps that are
used for turbine placement and resource estimation. Although KE1
can be readily determined from velocity measurements or predictions, many problems are associated with determining KE2. The exit
velocity from a wind turbine is extremely difcult to measure, as it
is highly variable and it quickly dissipates in all directions. As
a result, empirical work outputs are generally required to determine the wind turbine efciency (h).
Methods for describing the independent variables in the energy
analysis are relatively straightforward. The density of air is most
affected by temperature and relative humidity of the air. Temperature can be readily measured and computed. As a result, density is
normally selected solely on this measure (i.e., r (T), where T air
temperature). The air moisture content (u) also affects wind
density. A more accurate measure of density is r (T, u). However,
this is not commonly modelled in practice.
A second law analysis includes the ow irreversibilities associated with the system. The exergy balance equation can be
expressed as

1 W out Ex2 Exdest

Table 2
Signicant numerical assumptions and predictions.

NACA 63(2)-215 airfoil

FX 63-137 airfoil
Savonius VAWT
Zephyr VAWT

P0 [kPa]

T0 [C]












irreversibilities, which were not included in the rst law analysis.

The exergy of ow, Ex
flow , can be dened as the maximum attainable work acquired as the air ows through the turbine [7]. The
relevant terms include physical Ex
ph and kinetic exergy ExKE ,

flow Exph ExKE


Physical exergy includes the enthalpy and entropy changes

associated with the turbine operation, expressed as [14]

" #
" #


P 2
CP T0 # Taverage

where Pi P0 ) r=2V 2 and T1 and T2 are determined through the

wind chill temperature, based on a model developed by Zecher
[23]. The rst term in the square brackets represents the change in
ow enthalpy, while the second term characterizes the ow irreversibilities of the system. The irreversibilities associated with the
system can be determined by


I #T0 DS

" #
" #
_ P T0 # Taverage
I_ T0 CP ln 2 # Rln 2 #


The kinetic component of the ow exergy is equivalent to the

difference of kinetic energy through the turbine (i.e., DKE. From
Eq. (3), the change in kinetic energy can also be expressed by the
work output of the turbine. This methodology offers a signicant
opportunity to improve the wind turbine design and enhance the
site selection by supplementing the information provided by the



NACA 63(2)-215 Airfoil

FX 63-137 Airfoil
Savonius VAWT
Zephyr VAWT


where Ex
dest represents the exergy destruction associated with the
process. It is a representative measure of the irreversibilities
involved with the process. This methodology offers a useful alternative measure of turbine efciency that includes the



Definition of V2
Fig. 6. Denitions of V2 for a variety of wind power systems.


K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

rst law analysis. The specic exergy destruction can be dened





_ out will be determined by the model of Wilson

For the airfoils, W
et al. [24]. This is an empirical technique that correlates the turbine
power coefcient with the lift (CL), drag (CD), number of blades (B),
and tip speed ratio (l).



)2 3#1
1:32 l20
16 4
5 # 0:57
l l
l 1



The lift and drag coefcients are estimated from numerical

predications obtained at the specied tip speed ratio and blade
_ out is determined from the product of
number. For the VAWTs, W
a numerically predicted torque and the simulated rotational

Fig. 7. Energy and exergy efciencies based on (a) kinetic energy, (b) ow exergies, (c) V2 maintained constant, (d) V2/V1 maintained constant and (e) Benz efciencies.


K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

4. Results and discussion

In this section, the results of the rst and second law analyses
will be presented. The numerical simulations are used to obtain
performance predictions of the various wind systems and provide
useful information about the uid ow behaviour. For the airfoils,
the numerically predicted coefcients of lift and drag are used to
predict the maximum power coefcient through Eq. (12). A
numerically predicted moment coefcient is used to determine the
power coefcient of the VAWTs. The results of the numerical study
are summarized in Table 2.
Using the second law analyses for wind turbines requires V2. A
standard metric for nding V2 is crucial for maintaining consistent
exergetic efciency predictions for different wind turbine designs
and operating conditions. In this paper, four different denitions for
determining V2 are presented. Each denition is investigated with
respect to its reference variables and operating conditions. The
second law predictions achieved from each denition are the
compared with the rst law predictions and discussed with regards
to accuracy. The ability to represent the performance of different
turbine designs and operating conditions with a standard metric is
a signicant contribution of the second law. Each denition of V2
and its ability to uphold these criteria will be identied. Four
denitions below of V2 will be used in the analysis (see Fig. 6),
$ Denition 1: Point specic, low wind velocity (measured one
chord behind the turbine);

$ Denition 2: Specic effective velocity (V2 V2,eff % Aeff/A);

$ Denition 3: Average velocity of useful area (V2 V2,useful,ave);
$ Denition 4: Average of the low velocity stream.
A parametric study of the reference conditions and operating
wind conditions will be presented for each of the four wind energy
systems. The results will be compared for each denition of V2. This
includes (i) point specic low velocity, (ii) specic effective velocity,
(iii) average velocity of useful area, and the (iv) average of the low
velocity stream.

4.1. Denition 1: point specic, low wind velocity (measured one

chord behind the turbine)
Denition 1 is advantageous because it can be determined in
a consistent manner for different designs. Also, this denition lends
itself well to physical measurements. Virtually identical values of V2
are predicted for the VAWTs, with similar values also suggested for
the airfoils. The resultant airfoil second law efciencies are 15% and
17% for the NACA 63(2)-215 and FX 63-137, respectively. A 51e50%
distinction between the rst and second law efciencies is
predicted for the airfoil designs. A different trend is forecasted for
the VAWTs. The second law efciency for the Savonius VAWT is
predicted to be 17%, a 6% difference from the rst law predictions.
Comparably, a 10% exergy efciency, which is 9% different than the
rst law predictions, is forecasted for the Zephyr VAWT.

Fig. 8. Energy and exergy efciencies with varying pressure for (a) point specic low velocity, (b) specic effective velocity, (c) effective velocity and (d) average low velocity.

K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

Results of the energetic and exergetic analysis using Denition 1

for determining V2 are presented in Figs. 7e12a. Variations to the
reference conditions P0 and T0 are presented in Figs. 8a and 9a,
respectively. The minor effects of altering P0 are included in the rst
law efciencies for the VAWTs, but they do not affect the airfoils.
_ out , or
The discrepancy is caused by the method of determining W
more specically, the power coefcient. The analysis of the airfoils
uses an empirical correlation, which is independent of the reference pressure. In contrast, for the energy analysis, the VAWT
predictions include the effects of local pressure on the local wind
density, when predicting the power coefcient. The plot of varying
reference temperature includes the majority of the standard
operating conditions, with an equal distribution from 25 ! C, standard reference temperature. Similar to the variable P0, it can be
observed that although the second law efciencies depend on the
choice of reference conditions, it allows different wind power
systems to be compared with one descriptive parameter.
Variations to the input velocity, V1, are presented in Figs. 10a and
11a. These gures illustrate the effects of variations of inlet velocity,
while comparing the assumptions that (a) V2 is constant, or (b) V2/
V1 is maintained constant. The rst law analysis fails to predict
changes to the system efciency when this crucial operating
condition is altered. In comparison, despite the assumption of V2,
the second law predicts an increased efciency with higher values
of V1. The linear trend displayed by V2 has a higher variability,
suggesting that this denition of V2 increases reliability with the
assumption of V1/V2 C. More importantly, the second law


efciency reveals variability in the efciency of each system for

different wind conditions. This is valuable information when
designing a turbine for a wide variety of wind conditions, or
selecting a turbine for a specic site with one of the many different
possible operating requirements.
Sahin et al. [14] proposed that the shaft work is used to estimate
the kinetic component of ow exergy. The same value is used to
represent the work output, thereby assuming that the turbine is
100% energy efcient. This paper offers two alternative methods,
using one of the proposed denitions for obtaining V2 to represent
the change in kinetic energy. This includes the effects of DKE on (a)
its inclusion in Ex
flow as ExKE , and (b) assuming DKE Wout. To
differentiate, the second law efciencies in (a) are denoted as J2.
Fig. 7a illustrates the variations in the incoming velocity, where hKE
and JKE represent the rst and second law efciencies, with
DKE Wout. A high level of variability is expected with the denition of V2, thereby providing signicant information about the
effects of the denition. Furthermore, these plots present the point
specic change in kinetic energy, as stated by the rst law. Fig. 7c
and d present the methods of predicted ow exergy with
a varying inlet velocity. A comparison with Figs. 10a and 11a
predicts a 50e53% difference in the rst and second law efciencies
for the airfoil systems, and 44e55% for the VAWTs, at reference
Fig. 7e illustrates the results of a second law analysis of the Benz
limit. The theoretical maximum energy efciency is obtained with
the Benz limit. With the rst law, the Benz limit is a constant value,

Fig. 9. Energy and exergy efciencies with varying temperature for (a) point specic low velocity, (b) specic effective velocity, (c) effective velocity and (d) average low velocity.


K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

independent of operating conditions. However, combining the Benz

limit theory with second law analysis provides a theoretical
maximum efciency that includes the effect of irreversibilities,
resulting in a dependence on design and operating conditions.
_ out t=Ex
Dening it here as 0:59W
flow , the second law Benz limit
with both methods of obtaining Ex
flow (i.e., JB, and J2,B) is presented. Signicant variability between the VAWTs and the airfoils is
predicted by JB from 29% to 59%, while the range of J2,B is only
28e32%. Table 3 summarizes the rst and second law efciencies,
predicted for the reference operating conditions.

curvature are not fully represented. Dening the effective area for
the VAWT is comparatively straightforward. A low velocity ow
stream is evident in the locations where a signicant kinetic force is
applied. An effective area is assumed as the cross-sectional area of
this ow stream, with a total area assumed to be the turbine diameter. A notable result from Denition 2 is illustrated in Fig.11b, where
the airfoil second law efciencies exhibit a non-linear reduction in
efciency, falling rapidly after the reference wind velocity of 10 m/s.
The VAWT second law efciencies display a slight linear increase.
The high values of V2 suggested from Denition 2 produce the lowest
predictions of J throughout the study.

4.2. Denition 2: specic effective velocity (V2 V2,eff % Aeff/A)

4.3. Denition 3: average velocity of useful area (V2 V2,useful,ave)
This denition suggests a high level of accuracy with the second
law, as it attempts to specify the acting ow stream on the turbine.
This denition can provide a high level of comparability between
different turbine designs and congurations. However, the precision
of analysis could be a problem with this denition, as it requires
a level of intuition from the analyst. Figs. 8e12b present the results of
varied reference conditions and operating conditions for Denition 2.
A noticeable reduction in variability is experienced between the
airfoils from Denition 2. Also, the exergetic variability between the
airfoils and VAWTs is reduced. Difculties in dening the effective
area for an airfoil could be a contributing factor to this result.
In this paper, the effective area was assumed as the high speed
ow stream directed above the airfoil, with the total area taken to be
the chord length. This denition does not fully represent the
differences in geometry between the airfoils, as the effects of tail

Denition 3 predicts the largest range in V2, with 9.5 m/s for the
NACA 63(2)-215 airfoil, compared to 3.1 m/s for the Zephyr VAWT.
A high dependence on the streamline conguration of the turbine
is obtained by this denition. A high level of precision is attainable,
compared with Denition 2, since the value is independent of size
for the effective area. The analysis of Denition 2 reveals an output
for J that is evenly distributed at the reference conditions and
throughout most of the varied operating conditions. Similar to
Denition 2, the relatively high values of V2 for the airfoil translate
into low second law efciencies. However, the VAWTs are less
affected. From Fig. 11c, the prole of an airfoil can signicantly
affect the second law efciency. The basic prole of the NACA 63(2)215 exhibits only a slight reduction in second law efciency,
compared to the FX 63-137. A decreasing trend, which increases its

Fig. 10. Energy and exergy efciencies with varying V1, constant V2 for (a) point specic low velocity, (b) specic effective velocity, (c) effective velocity and (d) average low velocity.

K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113


Fig. 11. Energy and exergy efciencies with varying V1, constant V1/V2: (a) point specic low velocity, (b) specic effective velocity, (c) effective velocity, (d) average low velocity.

rate of reduction throughout the plot, is predicted for the more

complex FX 63-137. At the upper boundary of V1, the second law
efciency of the FX 63-137 airfoil falls below the value for the
Savonius VAWT.

4.4. Denition 4: average of the low velocity stream

This denition suggests a relatively even distribution of V2
amongst the various systems. This translates into evenly distributed second law efciencies, at the given reference operating
conditions illustrated in Figs. 8e12d. Similar to the other denitions, little effect is exhibited from altering the reference pressure.
This denition suggests a high variability between the airfoil
second law efciencies. Similar to Denition 3, the second law
efciency for the NACA 63(2)-215 airfoil deteriorates rapidly
throughout the range of V1, dropping below the Savonius second
law efciency within the operating velocity. The declining NACA 63
(2)-215 airfoil second law efciency suggests that this denition
can give insight into the interdependence of the geometric prole,
operating conditions, and turbine performance.
Fig. 12 compares the various denitions of V2 in terms of exdest,
assuming V2/V1 is maintained constant. Many of the previous
results can be understood through the exergy destruction. The rst
denition of V2 predicts similar exergy destruction for the airfoils
and VAWTs, respectively. It appears that this denition fails to fully
represent the differences in ow irreversibilities between all
systems. Better results would likely occur from Denitions 3 and 4,

whereby a greater range of variability is predicted between the

various systems.
These case studies have compared the rst and second law
efciencies of four wind energy systems. Difculties exhibited
with applying the exergetic analysis have been identied and
preliminary solutions were obtained. The denition of V2 has been
identied as a key component for implementing the second law in
regular wind power analysis, optimization and design. The second
law provides a valuable design tool that can help improve the
efciency and economic cost of wind power. Improvements to
system output, development and installation can contribute to
wind power systems alleviating the substantial demand from
traditional non-renewable energy sources. There is an urgent
need to alter these current consumption and production patterns.
Combustion of vast quantities of fossil fuels for power production
is responsible for numerous environmental problems. The emissions from hydrocarbon combustion contain pollution agents
including NOx, SOx, CO and CO2. These chemicals are connected to
a variety of environmental degradation problems, including acid
rain, smog, and greenhouse gases that contribute to climate
To ensure that wind energy capacity is fully utilized, the
turbine design must be optimized to operate in various wind
conditions. A second law analysis can contribute to improving the
wind turbine design, system efciency and power output. Significant reductions in the environmental impact of energy generation
methods can be achieved through efciency improvements via the
second law. Wind power can provide a sustainable contribution to


K. Pope et al. / Renewable Energy 35 (2010) 2102e2113

Fig. 12. Specic exergy destruction with varying V1, constant V2/V1 for (a) point specic low velocity, (b) specic effective velocity, (c) effective velocity and (d) average low velocity.


Table 3
Various predicted rst and second law efciencies.

h [%] J [%] J2 [%] JB [%] J2,B [%] hKE [%] JKE [%] JKE,2 [%]
NACA 63(2)-215
FX 63-137 airfoil
Savonius VAWT
Zephyr VAWT

















society's energy needs. The minimal impact caused by wind

turbine manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and operation
can be further reduced through efciency improvements and
enhanced design methodologies that use the second law of

5. Conclusions
In this paper, the rst and second laws were used to compare the
performance of a variety of wind power systems. Exergy analysis
was shown to allow a diverse range of geometric and operating
designs to be compared with a common metric. The results indicate
a 50e53% difference in rst and second law efciencies for the
airfoil systems, and 44e55% for the VAWTs. Exergy is a useful
parameter in wind power engineering, as it can represent a wide
variety of turbine operating conditions, with a single unied metric.
Through exergy methods, better site selection and turbine design
can improve system efciency, decrease economic cost, and
increase capacity of wind energy systems.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the nancial support of this

research provided by Zephyr Alternative Power Inc. and the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada.

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