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XYZ Institute of Technology

School of Mechanical and Design Engineering

Project Proposal

Title

SMALL WIND TURBINE DESIGN

Supervisor

PROF. NAME

Student

NAME OF STUDENT
INTRODUCTION

Wind power is an alternative energy source that can benefit poor communities.
Utilizing the wind to produce electricity to cater off-grid communities can be cheaper,
sustainable and more environmentally friendly.

Proposed project would involve designing of small wind turbine generator that targets
the poor communities in the world of which electrical energy is not a commodity or those
residing in off-grid locations. It will provide alternative solutions by presenting easier,
cheaper way of harnessing free wind energy that can be controlled and used to power
individual household’s electrical needs or be able to fed directly into a local energy grid, so-
called a grid-tie capability thereby paving way for possible revenue or payback opportunities.

INITIAL LITERATURE REVIEW

Widely recognized as one of the cheapest forms of renewable and clean power
source, wind energy is already being utilised in several countries and has achieved cost
competitiveness with respect to fossil fuel-based electricity generation (Asian Development
Bank, 2014).

Wind turbine technology as a means to harness wind energy as source of power from
nature is not new. From the ancient times, people have made use of the wind to propel boats
for many thousands of years. By then converting the wind’s mechanical power for human
use had come a long way and improved – from wind-driven wheels or wind wheels in
powering machines and other practical purposes, to windmills used in grinding corn, grind
flour or pump water, to wind turbines used to produce electric power for lighting, an example
shown in Figure 1, and recently, as a source of energy that that incorporates energy storage
and is foreseen as renewable, relatively environment-friendly and sustainable (Shahan,
2014). Megawatt-size commercial wind turbine generating systems are now already
developed such as that shown in Figure 2 of a horizontal axis wind turbine design, the
Vestas V66 under construction (Vestas Wind Systems A/S) and in Figure 3 for a wind
turbine for power generation manufactured by GE at 2 MW to 3 MW capacities for utility-
scale applications (GE Renewable Energy).

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Figure 1. Example of an early wind turbine that produces
electricity for home and road lighting.
(Photo courtesy of RenewableEnergyWorld.com)

Figure 2. Recent commercial horizontal axis wind


turbine design, the Vestas V66 under
construction, employing new technologies.
(Photo courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S)

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Figure 3. A three-blade utility-scale wind turbine
generator manufactured by General Electric at
2 MW to 3 MW capacities. (Photo courtesy of
GE Renewable Energy)

On its primal nature, a wind turbine basically works opposite a fan because a wind
turbine converts the kinetic power in the wind into mechanical energy. This mechanical
power can be converted into electricity by using a generator coupled to the wind turbine
(Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy).

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For homebased applications, it has been determined from studies that wind energy
systems are one of the most cost-effective renewable energy means. It can be possible that
a small wind energy system can lower electricity bill by 50% to 90%, can be beneficial in
avoiding the high initial investments as a result of the need of extending utility power lines to
far flung locations, can help in preventing power interruptions, and a clean or non-polluting
electric energy source (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2005).

Wind Power Monthly, an online wind power information resource has stated that a
design configuration called the horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) type which would be
considered in this design research, is found to be the most common configuration of wind
turbine deployed to various applications. The most favoured wind turbine design is the three-
blade HAWT due to various advantages that include better efficiency, lower noise
generation, and minimal yawing operational issues (Milborrow, 2011).

Wind resource data and mapping for a particular location or area under consideration
have been effectively served by a free web-based application developed and maintained as
Global Wind Atlas which is a collaboration between the Technical University of Denmark
(DTU Wind Energy) and the World Bank Group. It is intended to help “policymakers and
investors identify potential high-wind areas for wind power generation virtually anywhere in
the world” (Global Wind Atlas).

There are also certain studies that has evaluated cost implications of wind energy
ventures. One such is that done by Kealy, et.al. (2015) that had determined the capital cost
of a 3.5 MW wind turbine project. In that study costs were broken down as €1,150,000
capital cost per MW, €200,000 connection cost per MW, €450,000 civil cost, €70,000 roads
construction cost, €157,350 for initial development cost by which all these results to
€5,402,35 over-all project cost.

In renewable energy endeavour such as the wind power development, risks may be
always in existence. For example, in utility scale units there could be issues in the planning
consent and approval stages because unfavourable outcome could prevent commencement
of the wind turbine project. More so, finalizing an acceptable grid offer in the form of power
sales agreement or a grid connection agreement can also be the biggest project risk and
hindrance for a successful wind power investment. Other risks for utility scale projects can
be due to environmental (esp. avian mortality cases) or strict statutory requirements and
local “anti-wind” resistance groups (Renewables First).

Safety issues that include physical hazards to workers such as blade throw caused by
component defects or failures, fall from high elevation, confines spaces, hit by rotating or

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moving parts, inexperienced workers, etc. Other hazards could include wastes resulting from
operations, exposure to harmful substances, psychosocial issues, and musculoskeletal
disorders to name some (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work).

There are risk management best practices that can help build a successful wind
energy venture by mitigating and managing exposure to such risks that may involve having
insurance coverage from brokers with extensive renewable energy experiences (Berry,
2012). Other studies had determined that policy and regulatory risks are observed to be a
major barrier for renewable energy investments and that apart from insurance, diversification
of renewable energy investment comes as one of the most important tools for risk reduction
(Gatzert and Kosub, 2016)

With calculations and decisions based on literature, this project will carry out designing
and improving a small wind turbine that produces around 1 to 5 kW electricity primarily
intended for poor or low-income households or communities that don’t have the opportunity
of access to utility power (similar to that shown in Figure 4), or other interested parties
desiring the design’s inherent benefits.

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Figure 4. Small wind turbine typically installed in local
communities and off-grid households for
electric lighting and small power needs.
(Photo courtesy of National Renewable
Energy Laboratory)

THE NEED FOR SMALL WIND TURBINES

Wind energy utilisation in producing electricity is unarguably of benefit being relatively


a free resource. With this study centered on using a wind turbine to make use of such free
energy source, there is a need to determine the specific wind turbine generator system to be
selected. In deciding which option to apply, this small wind turbine design study considers
the cost aspects as main criteria because the targeted beneficiaries are low-income, off-grid
households or poor communities which are located in areas remote from utility power
distributions.

When commercially available wind turbine units are to be considered their current
costs of ownership need to be determined. To simplify the selection process, let the cost of
purchase be the sole basis. For example, if remote communities deem to consider a utility
scale wind turbine unit at megawatt level, data from relevant studies can be useful. For
instance, in the aforementioned study of Kealy, et.al. (2015), the €5,402,35 over-all wind
turbine project cost can be a prohibitive cost even when considering the €1,150,000 cost per
MW (wind turbine generator assembly and its appurtenances) when looking at the capacity
for acquisition of low-income, off-grid households or even local communities in developing
countries, what is the option if to cater their off-grid power needs. This is one reason why low
cost and small wind turbines could be more viable and affordable means of off-grid power for
the targeted poor communities.…

INITIAL ASSUMPTIONS, LIMITATIONS AND RISKS

Basic assumption for this design project is that only a HAWT type would be considered
and that a three-blade design is desired and trivially chosen over two-bladed and other multi-
blade designs due to the advantages already stated. Selection or determination of the
design of the mechanical and electrical hardware components (such as drive train, hub,

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main shaft, coupling, gearbox, generator and its electronics, etc.) for the desired small wind
turbine assembly is presumed to be well-suited for HAWT.

It is also assumed that for applicable wind resource data and mapping of a particular
location or area under consideration in this research project, the Global Wind Atlas web-
based application will be utilized for relevant calculations and design aspects relevant to
complete the small wind turbine design.

Exclusions include design optimizations related to wind farm placement which is


beyond the desired scope of this study, wind turbine control system provision such as
automatic pitch control as the small wind turbine would have a fixed blade pitch, and
provision of automated data acquisition capability of which are only practicable in large utility
scale installations.

The intended scope of activities for this research project would be limited to the
design, components fabrication, and testing of a small fixed-pitch horizontal-axis wind
turbine.

With most of the literature presented tackles only utility and wind farm scales, risks as
identified were observed to apply for grid-tie and large capacity installations. It may be safe
to presume that risks inherent in utility scale large wind turbine generators with grid-tie
applications can be different from those for small wind turbines of off-grid used in remote and
poor communities. Another presumption is that small wind turbine generators with grid-tie
capability may have risks in between the preceding two applications stated above.

For this particular design research, it is presumed that risks for small wind turbine
generators would be limited to utilisation safety (electrocution, electronic component
damage, small fire, or falling blades) and the risks encountered in large, utility scale HAWT
units may not be applicable. Important assumption related to economics aspect of this small
wind turbine design project is that payback period is not of so much criticality as focus is
centered on the provision of the much-needed electricity for the targeted remotely located
poor communities. None-the-less, relevant costs are presumed to be determined and
presented in this design research.

OBJECTIVES.

The objective of this project is to design a wind power-to-electricity energy converter of


small size in kilowatt range that can be affordable for low-income households in the third-

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world or developing countries. The project component assembly would consist of a gearbox,
rotor system, and a generator that will produce the required electrical power. The small wind
turbine will be designed with an effective post life recycling plan in mind to keep a minimum
wastage of resources. In addition, the main aim of this project is to make use of natural
resources and indigenous materials to supply and produce the energy requirements needed
in a sustainable manner. Wind turbines can be one of the best solutions or the perfect
sustainable answer for our global energy requirements as the prices of fossil fuel are
increasing in conjunction with the decrease in their stockpiles and the consuming of non-
renewable energy sources produces various air pollutants which are harmful to the
environment and public health. Wind turbine technology has already been used to produce
energy in several nations and it has worked satisfactorily.

This project is focusing further on improving the design and increasing the
performance a small wind turbine for electric power generation in the 1 kW to 5 kW power
output range as stated earlier. The project includes mechanical designs of tower, wind
blades, gearbox, and choosing the perfect power relevant to the coupled electric generator,
with emphasis placed on the availability or provision of feasible, reliable electrical supplies
and other raw materials. Moreover, the connection to electrical networks, either to a local
island grid of homogenous or hybrid renewable energy sources, or with the wider power
distribution grid, with the suitable frequency and voltage requirements, will be tackled.
Technical improvements also will be mentioned and discussed, and the design of the small
wind turbine will be shown and tested.

The goals of the project are:

1) To provide a background information about wind turbines and wind energy.


2) Apply the knowledge obtained during the course to develop mechanical-based system to
electrical base system with more efficiency.
3) To design a suitable wind turbine to meet the specifications as set out and coherent with
the project outline.
4) To meet the set of the desired specifications and the intended power output.
5) To provide an alternative energy source for poor communities that is cheaper,
sustainable and more environmentally friendly

The fundamental target of this design project is to solely use the energy in wind by
utilizing an improved and developed mechanical framework that can provide a driving force
to the generator that makes use of the appropriate literature in the in-depth analysis of the
design process that will be taking place.

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METHODOLOGY

It is crucial to have a good and comprehensive background of the key concepts


involved and principles behind wind turbine design, so the prevailing ways of wind power
production can be upgraded, improved upon, and electrical energy be produced more
efficiently. As mentioned above, the wind turbine technology is an existing technology. With
this project being centered around redesigning, upgrading, and adjusting mechanical and
electrical engineering aspects of the design to accomplish the predefined power output level.
As intended in this project, the simplest method to achieve the its aim or how can this be
done is by scaling down an existing turbine which is rated at a larger output power until its
power meets the required output rating, particularly in the 1 kW to 5 kW range. For the
duration of the project, investigation reports will be carried out amongst a wide range of wind
energy converters and the utility or grid-tie devices currently available on the market.

This project’s methodology is presented as follows:

1) Determine application

The intended application of the wind turbine project will be provided. This
includes the type of application the wind turbine is designed for, the target end-use,
and other relevant information.

2) Relevant assumptions and risks determination

Assumptions necessary to be put forward in the first place make sure that
certain constraints are in place and project scope are identified so that the direction
of project activities would not go elsewhere. Determination of possible risks would be
helpful so as contingency measures can be planned for any unpleasant surprises as
project activities ensue.

3) Investigating previous designs

There is already a plethora of small wind turbine designs that exists. Various
configurations can be investigated for applicability in this project or serve as a basis
in developing the improved design as intended.

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4) Select topology

A wide variety of wind turbine design topology are in existence that determining
which one to choose from to use in this project could pose a judgment difficulty.
Selection criteria would be needed when identifying the suitable topology option for
the proposed application thus this is to be established.

5) Selection calculations and selections techniques

Herein would involve determining the dimensions of the individual components


of the proposed small wind turbine design. Such dimensions would be the product of
related calculations that are chosen based on certain selection technique or criteria.

Software design tools with built-in graphical development functionality,


calculation, or selection techniques are available such as Solidworks and possibly of
usefulness is Ansys.

6) Develop provisional design

After the preceding small wind turbine design activities thus far stated,
implementation of the design will commence. Provisional design development will
involve creation of the prototype based on the determined dimensions and materials.

7) Evaluate design

In this stage, the prototype small wind turbine generator will be evaluated.
Various turbine and generator parameters will be measured and calculated (that
include but may not be limited to coefficient of power and the λ characteristic) with
characteristic curves (such as its power curve) drawn to visually analyse its
performance and pinpoint extremes. Any results showing achievement of desired
performance is noted while those showing non-attainment would be subject for
further investigation of the provisional design if desired.

8) Approximate financial values

Cost evaluation will be made covering the over-all financial implications of this
project. Even with the provisional design model, bill of materials and pertinent costs
will be prepared that can be useful in determining the approximate financial
investment for the production type model for eventual field applications. Revenue

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from generated electricity output of the small wind turbine for certain period will be
determined as this could be useful in assessing its projected economic value.

9) Final design

The results of provisional design evaluation and cost impact analysis will
influence the final design, whether there is or no changes that would be implemented
as an improvement. The final design will serve as the production model of the small
wind turbine generator intended for deployment in off-grid communities and grid-
independent small power needs of interested households or other interested parties.

OUTLINE OF CHAPTERS AND PROPOSED CONTENT

Corresponding chapters of this research project would include but may not be limited to;

1. General facts on wind energy and wind turbines

2. Articles for literature review

3. Principles of electric power generation of wind turbines

4. Wind turbine topology and configurations

5. Market-available wind turbine generators relevant to the project

6. Cost estimates of commercial wind turbine generators

7. The need for lower cost small wind turbine generators

8. Improvements of existing wind turbine designs to achieve desired project design

9. Assumptions for the project and possible risks

10. Presentation of applicable research project methodologies

11. Data collection on wind resource specific to the targeted location

12. Design-related computations to achieve desired wind turbine energy output

13. Estimating power curves and other wind turbine parameters and their implications

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14. Determining the necessary improvements for the final design.

15. Conclusion and recommendations for relevant future work.

INITIAL REFERENCES

Asian Development Bank, (2014). Guidelines for Wind Resource Assessment: Best
Practices for Countries Initiating Wind Development. [pdf] Available at:
https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/42032/guidelines-wind-resource-
assessment.pdf [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Berry, L. (2012). Understanding Wind Farm Exposures and Managing Risk. [online]
RenewableEnergyWorld.com. Available at: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/
articles/2012/02/understanding-wind-farm-exposures-and-managing-risk.html
[Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. How Do Wind Turbines Work? [online] Available at:
https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/how-do-wind-turbines-work [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. E-Facts 80. Hazard Identification Checklist:
Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Risks in the Wind Energy Sector. [pdf] Available at:
https://osha.europa.eu/en/tools-and-publications/publications/e-facts/e-fact-80-hazard-
identification-checklist-occupational-safety-and-health-osh-risks-in-the-wind-energy-sector
[Accessed 28 Oct. 2018].

Gatzert, N., Kosub, T. (2016). Risks and Risk Management of Renewable Energy Projects:
The Case of Onshore and Offshore Wind Parks. [pdf] Available at: https://www.vwrm.rw.
fau.de/ files/2016/05/Wind_Insurance_2016-02-18_WP.pdf [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

GE Renewable Energy. Cypress Onshore Wind Turbine Platform. [image] Available at:
https://www.ge.com/renewableenergy/wind-energy/turbines/cypress-platform
[Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Global Wind Atlas. Introduction-The Global Wind Atlas. [online] Available at:
https://globalwindatlas.info/about/introduction [Accessed 26 Oct. 2018].

Kealy, T., Barret, M. and Kearney, D. (2015) How Proftable are Wind Turbine Projects? An
Empirical Analysis of a 3.5 MW Wind Farm In Ireland. International journal on recent
technologies in mechanical and electrical engineering (IJRMEE) Vol. 2, Issue 14, 2015.
doi:10.21427/D7KP71 Available at: https://arrow.dit.ie/engscheleart2/86/ [Accessed 26 Oct.
2018].

Milborrow, D. (2011). Are three blades really better than two? [online] Wind Power Monthly.
Available at: https://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1083653/three-blades-really-better-
two [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

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National Renewable Energy Laboratory, (2005). Small Wind Electric Systems. [pdf]
Available at: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy05osti/37711.pdf [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Renewables First. What are the main project risks for wind power? [online] Available at:
https://www.renewablesfirst.co.uk/windpower/windpower-learning-centre/what-are-the-main-
project-risks-for-wind-power [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Shahan, Z. (2014). History of Wind Turbines. [online] RenewableEnergyWorld.com.


Available at: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/ugc/articles/2014/11/history-of-wind-
turbines.html [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Vestas Wind Systems A/S. V66 – 1.75 MW & V66 – 2.0 MW (Offshore). [pdf] Available at:
http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uceseug/Fluids2/Wind_Turbines/Blyth_Wind_Farm
[Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

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