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# wind generator design question

B

#### brian mitchell

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi,

from looking around at all the information on wind turbines I get the
sense that there's a certain scientific macho at work. Everything has to
be super-efficient, with rotor-blades as thin as knitting needles,
perfect pitch and razored lift, etc.

As I (unscientifically) understand it, this is because the power
generation is all predicated on wind *velocity*. This may be fine if you
live where Atlantic gales come screeching up the loch and you need heavy
stones on the roof to keep it in place, but not many of us do. I
actually live in Wales in the UK, which can be quite windy, but I am in
sight of a trio of large wind turbines and they never seem to be turning
--though they look impressive.

My question is whether, for people who don't live in ideal (regular,
strong, non-turbulent) wind conditions, it wouldn't be better to think
in terms of wind *pressure*? With this, the rotor-blade would be more a
sail than a wing and one would be wanting to maximise area rather than
lift. Being slow-turning, the alternator part would have to be geared.
Or, as I've been pondering, be arranged around the rim of the rotor so
as to utilise the tip speed.

Does anyone know if a) this makes any sense, b) anyone else is thinking
in this general direction? Are there plans available? I know there is
the Savonius rotor, which is a pressure device, but would seem to me to
suffer from only being driven for about a third of its rotation, the
rest being windage. But I could be very wrong, I know. Does anyone have
experience of these rotors?

Looking forward to hearing some thoughts on this...

brian mitchell

B

#### brian mitchell

Jan 1, 1970
0
spinning said:
The energy available from the wind is in the form of kinetic energy...
Yes.

"The kinetic energy of a given [air] mass varies with the square of its
velocity. Because the mass flow increases linearly with the wind speed,
the wind energy available to a wind turbine increases as the cube of
the wind speed." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_energy
The wind *velocity* causes *pressure* on the rotors, so these two
parameters go hand-in-hand. You need one to have the other right?

Yes. To be very specific, with an aerofoil blade, such as is used in
most wind generators, the wind passing over the leading edge creates a
pressure differential, known as 'lift', between the two surfaces of the
blade. Increased velocity = increased lift. But this doesn't address my
main point, which is that you need quite high velocities to get useful
speeds of rotation. This may be the most *efficient* way of utilising
the kinetic energy of the wind, but not necessarily the most effective
way in all conditions.

Also, to generate power, you need both pressure and rotor movement.
Remember, power equals torque times rotational speed.

Thanks. Torque is really what's at issue. In light winds, a rotor which
uses the kinetic energy to simply *displace* its blades by converting a
horizontal force into a rotational one, like a windmill or a fan in
reverse, may develop more torque than one dependent on lift alone.
Sailing a boat downwind in light airs you throw up as much canvas as you
can. Since electricity generation increases with rotational speed, it
might be a better trade-off to use the torque of a displacement-type
rotor with a geared-up generator than a lift-type rotor with blades
several metres long. Especially if you want to mount the whole thing on
the roof of a suburban semi!

Also, in a wind gust, if the rotor blades are thin, they will spin-up
more quickly.
Thin turbine blades will have a small area, but once they're moving,
their "swept area" is large.

I'm sure both these are true, but it seems to be a fact that aerodynamic
wind turbines give disappointing results --electricity-wise-- in areas
where the windstream is broken, turbulent, confused, etc., and in light
winds anywhere. Rather than saying :- these conditions are no good for a
wind turbine so don't bother- perhaps it would be better to ask: how can
we take best advantage of these conditions?

brian mitchell

D

#### daestrom

Jan 1, 1970
0
brian mitchell said:
spinning said:
The energy available from the wind is in the form of kinetic energy...
Yes.

"The kinetic energy of a given [air] mass varies with the square of its
velocity. Because the mass flow increases linearly with the wind speed,
the wind energy available to a wind turbine increases as the cube of
the wind speed." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_energy
The wind *velocity* causes *pressure* on the rotors, so these two
parameters go hand-in-hand. You need one to have the other right?

Yes. To be very specific, with an aerofoil blade, such as is used in
most wind generators, the wind passing over the leading edge creates a
pressure differential, known as 'lift', between the two surfaces of the
blade. Increased velocity = increased lift. But this doesn't address my
main point, which is that you need quite high velocities to get useful
speeds of rotation. This may be the most *efficient* way of utilising
the kinetic energy of the wind, but not necessarily the most effective
way in all conditions.

Also, to generate power, you need both pressure and rotor movement.
Remember, power equals torque times rotational speed.

Thanks. Torque is really what's at issue. In light winds, a rotor which
uses the kinetic energy to simply *displace* its blades by converting a
horizontal force into a rotational one, like a windmill or a fan in
reverse, may develop more torque than one dependent on lift alone.
Sailing a boat downwind in light airs you throw up as much canvas as you
can. Since electricity generation increases with rotational speed, it
might be a better trade-off to use the torque of a displacement-type
rotor with a geared-up generator than a lift-type rotor with blades
several metres long. Especially if you want to mount the whole thing on
the roof of a suburban semi!

Also, in a wind gust, if the rotor blades are thin, they will spin-up
more quickly.
Thin turbine blades will have a small area, but once they're moving,
their "swept area" is large.

I'm sure both these are true, but it seems to be a fact that aerodynamic
wind turbines give disappointing results --electricity-wise-- in areas
where the windstream is broken, turbulent, confused, etc., and in light
winds anywhere. Rather than saying :- these conditions are no good for a
wind turbine so don't bother- perhaps it would be better to ask: how can
we take best advantage of these conditions?

It isn't so much that a particular type of turbine 'give disappointint
results...', it's just how much power is available. If a given diameter
wind turbine can develop 500 watts in a 10 mph wind, then it can't do better
than 500/8 = 62.5 watts in a 5 mph. Just because there is that much less
energy in the wind, and that much less air moving past the turbine.

Yes, it is possible to design a turbine that generates more power at lower
wind speeds. Just make the diameter larger. But there comes a trade off of
how much a large turbine costs versus how much power it can generate.
Designing for very light winds pushes the $/watt up pretty quickly. And a turbine that generates max output at 7 mph ends up *throwing away* an awful lot of energy when the wind speed is up to 14 mph. Large, multiple blades as you're suggesting can develop a lot more torque. But the lower revolution speed ends up taking over and the horsepower output goes down. And larger blades means bigger/stronger tower to hold them up against that wind. Large bladed units are also somewhat self-limiting as wind speed increases because although the available power increases, the turbine can't speed up much because of all the drag associated with spinning those large blades through the air. daestrom M #### Mic Jan 1, 1970 0 Wind generator Links http://www.msinter.net/tradingcave/windpower/customer/jeremyboat.htm Home built boat wind genny http://www.msinter.net/tradingcave/windpower/customer/custbuilt.htm http://tlgwindpower.com/Ametek99data.htm XXXXXXXXXXXX From a seller on Ebay Wind turbine generator PMA Permanent Magnet Alternator NOTICE FOR ANY OF YOU A.E. NOVICES OUT THERE: If these voltages seem high just remember that standard automotive alternators are usually putting out 40 to 50 volts into the 12 volt battery in your car. That's right! It won't harm the battery AS long as the battery is not FULL it can take high levels of charging voltage no problem. A lead acid battery will easily buffer high input voltages. (You will never be able to see voltages this high because the battery pulls all power inputs DOWN to its own voltage level AND that's why you NEVER pull off the battery cables when an engine is running because your fuses, dash board lights and regulator blow up !!!!!!! (Especially if you rev the engine! ,,,, NO battery---- NO buffer!!) Have you every seen a battery charger that had a BOOST/START mode??? How could this work since you can't force more amperage into an electrical circuit. Amperage has to be "Demanded" by an electrical device so the BOOST/START switch on your battery charge is actually increasing the VOLTAGE to about 18 to 20 volts thereby allowing you to extract more amperage. Relax, it is normal to charge batteries with much more power than their output ratings. Only start worrying when the battery is fully charged and THEN any additional power must stop coming into it or must be dumped to keep the battery cool and from producing explosive hydrogen gas. To make a long story short a 12 volt battery that is being charged with a wind turbine putting out 50 volts will still only read "12 volts" to a volt meter proving that the high voltage power is easily being swallowed up by the big lead plates of your battery. XXXXXXXXXXXXx http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/Hornetassembr.html http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/buck.html http://www.voltscommissar.net/minimax/veroboard.htm http://www.msinter.net/tradingcave/windpower/waterproof.htm http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_links.html http://www.velacreations.com/store.html The Chispito Wind Generator is a 100W machine. It outputs 14volts at 275 rpm, so it starts putting power into your batteries in low wind speeds (5-7mph). CHISPITO BARE-BONES KIT -$95 FREE SHIPPING
http://www.velacreations.com/chispitobarebones.html
Assembly instructions
http://www.velacreations.com/chispito.html
HOW TO BUILD A CHISPITO WIND GENERATOR MANUAL
http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?UID=2005041919300147&catname=electric&qty=1&item=10-2167
http://www.velacreations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8
http://www.velacreations.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8&start=15
http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/batteryregulator.html
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/s.amesbury/props.html

http://www.1stconnect.com/anozira/SiteTops/energy/Alternator/alternator.htm
ALTERNATOR SECRETS
"When modified, auto alternators can provide variable direct current
at 0 to 120 volts for battery charging, etc...."

http://www.cirkits.com/
A 20 amp charge controller that is installed between a solar panel and
a battery. Use for general purpose solar regulation. For 12 Volt
systems.

CirKits Links to Alternative Energy Web Sites Large
http://users.xplornet.com/~rmanzer/windmill/rotor_calculator.html
Wind Turbine Power Output Calculator
http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/0101/Nelson-0101.html
The Basic Chemistry of Gas Recombination in Lead-Acid Batteries

http://www.picoturbine.com/home.htm
http://www.thebackshed.com/Windmill/AssemblyA.asp
Lots of good projects in including a CNC router???
http://www.thebackshed.com/Windmill/articles/Router1.asp
http://www.gotwind.org/Projects.htm
Building your own wind turbine can be both a very fulfilling
experience or a disappointing exercise.
http://www.gotwind.org/cycle_computer.htm
Wireless cycle computer as an RPM monitor

http://eduhosting.org/windpics/wgz.html
This is the WindGenZen SAIL model

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
# The motor should produce 12 volts at 200-300 RPM.
# To find out if a motor will do this, take the rated voltage and
divide it by the rated RPM. I.E. a 50 volt motor rated for 1000 RPM
will make 12 volts at about 250 RPM. Use a linear scale to calculate
the voltage of any given RPM.
# If the RPM required to make 12 volts is higher than 300 it probably
will not work unless you have a big blade and screaming winds.

# If the RPM required to make 12 volts is higher than 400 it will not
work and you should consider a different generator.

# For example, a motor that makes 72 volts DC at 1850 RPM will make 12
volts DC at about 300 RPM. That will work.

# A 50 volt motor rated for 1000 RPM would make 12.5 volts at 250 RPM.
That will work.

# A 36 volt motor rated for 800 RPM would make 12 volts at about 266
RPM. That will work.

# A 24 volt motor rated for 700 RPM would make 12 volts at about 350
RPM. That will work if you have good wind.

# A 36 volt motor rated for 1500 RPM would make 12 volts at about 500
RPM. That will NOT work and you should reconsider the generator.

# Do you see the relationship and ratio of RPM and voltage you need?
Avoid motors that require too many RPM for making 12 volts unless you
are charging 6 volt batteries: they won't work.

# Large AC motors can be rectified for less than $30.00 and often produce tons of good DC power at low RPMs...lots, and often do it for only a little more than ameteks. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ B #### brian mitchell Jan 1, 1970 0 BobG said: My idea is to use technology to tweak the efficiency.... Yes. The most adaptive machine possible seems the best idea. . . . a small gearhead motor can tweak the blade pitch to get rotation in small or large winds... feather the blades in high wind... How would that be controlled? . . . and pwm field control on the alternator to control torque load on the rotor so light wind can be used for just a few watts. This would open up many other areas of light wind to windpower. I don't know what pwm field control is...? But I agree that the electrical side should also be adaptive. Hugh Piggott's well-known diy generator can have its 6 coils wired in two configurations, star for low speeds and delta for higher speeds. He speaks of having a switch to change modes and it could be centrifugally operated inside the generator. And I, in my Mad Victorian Inventor mode, wonder if it would be feasible to have a centrifugally operated auto-transformer, such that with increasing speeds the permanent magnet generator fed into a load of increasing impedance and the output would be a nearly constant voltage. Perhaps there's a wholly electronic way of achieving the same end, I don't know. brian mitchell B #### brian mitchell Jan 1, 1970 0 It isn't so much that a particular type of turbine 'give disappointint results...', it's just how much power is available. If a given diameter wind turbine can develop 500 watts in a 10 mph wind, then it can't do better than 500/8 = 62.5 watts in a 5 mph. Just because there is that much less energy in the wind, and that much less air moving past the turbine. Can't argue with that! Although a turbine which could develop that much power in 10mph winds and still be considered 'domestic' would be a desirable object. Yes, it is possible to design a turbine that generates more power at lower wind speeds. Just make the diameter larger. But there comes a trade off of how much a large turbine costs versus how much power it can generate. Designing for very light winds pushes the$/watt up pretty quickly. And a
turbine that generates max output at 7 mph ends up *throwing away* an awful
lot of energy when the wind speed is up to 14 mph.

I can see that, but any turbine system is likely to end up throwing away
energy. What happens when you're batteries are fully charged and it
decides to blow a gale? And don't most small-scale systems use shunt
voltage regulation to protect batteries?

I'm trying to see the whole system as a unity, and that has to take
actual conditions as the base point. I've learnt that the annual mean
wind speed for my area is 8mph. That's at 10 metres above ground level,
so probably less at roof level. This suggests to me that for *most* of
the year one would be getting 8mph winds as a maximum, and one has to
consider viability, cost/benefit, etc, over a whole year.
Large, multiple blades as you're suggesting can develop a lot more torque.
But the lower revolution speed ends up taking over and the horsepower
output
goes down. And larger blades means bigger/stronger tower to hold them up
against that wind. Large bladed units are also somewhat self-limiting as
wind speed increases because although the available power increases, the
turbine can't speed up much because of all the drag associated with
spinning
those large blades through the air.

It doesn't seem beyond possibility to me that wind as a wide-application
alternative energy source is a bit of a chimera. The fastest I've ever
seen those large wind turbines on the nearby hill turning is about one
revolution in five seconds. Maybe that's enough to generate usefully
large amounts of power, I don't know. But I do wonder about the economic
viability of them.

I'm working on the basis that a greater number of smaller systems which
can utilise battery storage might be a better bet. Although in the UK
you're allowed to connect really quite small systems into the national
grid and sell power back, that isn't storage in any sense, and they pay
you nearly nothing for it.

At the moment, for a system that might be called 'domestic' (ie.,
rooftop, easily made and installed) my mind is yawing towards vertical
axis, low windspeed jobs. Quite a lot of people seem to be looking in
that direction I now discover.

brian mitchell

B

#### brian mitchell

Jan 1, 1970
0
Solar Flare said:
I am thinking the same thing about vertical but the size seems to be
too huge and the bearings look like they would be a maintenance
problem, at first glance. Only 30-40% of the windside face actually
catches wind and the rest opposes it.

Taking the Savonius-type rotor as an example, once one frees one's mind
of the "55 gallon drum" imprint there are many modifications possible to
address the problems and raise the overall efficiency. One instance of
this I've seen is a shroud or cowl which leaves only the working side
exposed and dramatically cuts down the drag of the returning 'cups'.
This design sacrifices the omni-directionality but increases the
efficiency, and it's only a lightweight cowl seeking the wind so there's
no gyroscopic forces involved.

Other designs have two tiers with staggered cups, or make them wider
than they are tall to take advantage of increased leverage to turn a
bigger load. And there's no reason why this kind of rotor shouldn't have
a top bearing as well.

Many developments, too, on the aerofoil, Darrieus-type vertical axis
rotors. Different configurations of blades, variable pitch as they
revolve, and so on. I don't know how tunable these are to low-wind
conditions, though.

brian mitchell

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