Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

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Group Design Project
A small scale vertical axis wind turbine was designed, built and tested in a wind tunnel
Group Members
Qusyairi Amiruddin, Bogdan-Cristian Huiu, Alexander Marjoram, Benjamin Meuth, Christopher Ozard, Puja Patel, Adam Roberts, Simon Stewart-Smith

Dr. Kamal Djidjeli, Dr. Zhiwei Hu, Professor Keith Towell


A small prototype vertical axis wind turbine was designed, manufactured, assembled, and then tested in the R.J. Mitchell wind tunnel facility to examine its performance and compare it with theoretical predictions.

The project highlighted that it is possible to produce innovative, renewable and sustainable methods of generating energy at low costs. The motivation for the project arose from the growing threat of climate change due to the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.

The open source wind turbine simulation software QBlade was used to determine appropriate dimensions for the turbine. Finite Element Analysis was used to analyse the structural requirements of the base, spreaders and blades. Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations were used to select an aerofoil for the blades and then to compare with the experimental data. A detailed virtual model of the turbine was produced using Computer Aided Design. The model was then used to verify the assembly and produce 2D drawings to guide the manufacturing process. The electronic control system was designed to switch between starting up the turbine and generating power.
The blades were comprised of two pieces of high density foam which were CNC milled into the half-aerofoil shapes. These were glued together to surround a carbon fibre spar and the connectors that would be used to attach the blades to the spreaders. The foam was then wrapped with carbon fibre sheets pre-impregnated with resin and then cured in the autoclave at 85°C for 12 hours.

During testing, a series of aerodynamic and mechanical improvements were made to increase the efficiency of the turbine. The power output of the turbine was measured at various wind speeds and rotational speeds. The RPM was controlled by varying the resistance of the load. The maximum power produced was 218W at a wind speed of 12.5 m/s.

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