Innovative Wind Systems

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Innovative or unusual wind systems (Figure 5.17) have to be evaluated in the same way as other wind turbines. The important categories are system performance, structural requirements, and quantity and characteristics of materials. Innovative ideas include the tornado type, tethered units to reach the high winds of the jet stream, tall tower to use rising air, tall tower and humid air, torsion flutter, electrofluid, diffuser augmented, the Magnus effect, and others. Many of these have been reported in Popular Science [2-4]. Most all innovative concepts remain at the feasibility or lab experiment stage. Not all innovative systems are recent inventions; for example, sail wings, wings on railroad cars, and the Magnus effect (Madaras concept was rotating cylinders on railroad cars) have been around for a long time.

The West German government funded the construction of a 200 m tall tower in Spain [5]. A 240 m diameter greenhouse at the bottom provided the hot air to drive the air turbine, rated at 75 kW, which was located inside the tower. A private entrepreneur in California constructed a Magnus type wind turbine [6], 17 m in diameter, with purported rated capacity of 110 kW (Figure 5.18). The unit was later moved to the wind test site of Southern California Edison, which was located in San Gorgonio Pass. A small wind turbine has been built with spirals on the cylinders (Figure 5.19). A built-in motor spins the cylinders, which in the wind makes the rotor rotate due to the Magnus force on the cylinders. The unit is 11.5 m diameter and rated power is 12 kW.

Center body

Center body

Diffuser

Diffuser

Front

Option shroui shells

Option shroui shells

Rotating Cylinder Electrode Photos

1. Colloid charging system

2. Inlet attractor electrode

3. Collector electrode

1. Colloid charging system

2. Inlet attractor electrode

3. Collector electrode

4. High voltage power supply

5. Feedback control system

Streamtube

Streamtube

Torodial acceleration rotor platform

FIGURE 5.17 Examples of innovative wind turbines.

Innovative Wind Power
FIGURE 5.17 (Continued)

Schematic of an EFD wind generator

Schematic of an EFD wind generator

Rotating Cylinder Electrode Photos

FIGURE 5.17 (Continued)

Magnus Rotor
FIGURE 5.18 Magnus effect wind turbine at Southern California Edison test site.
Wind Turbine Magnus Effect
FIGURE 5.19 Spiral Magnus wind turbine (11.5 m diameter, 12 kW). Model shows spiral (helix fins) on cylinders. (Photos: Left, MECARO, Japan; right, Charlie Dou. With permission.)

The most different concept is the electrofluid unit, which has no moving mechanical parts. The wind carries the moving charge to generate electricity for a load. A somewhat similar device consists of a balloon covered with a thin conductive layer. Static electricity generated by wind friction would be conducted through a cable to the surface [7]. Oscillations of piezoelectric polymers driven by the wind would also make a unique type of wind turbine. One idea was to place such devices along highways to use the turbulent wind generated by passing trucks and cars.

The Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), later renamed NREL, was the lead agency in innovative concepts (Table 5.2), and reports on the projects funded by SERI are available in conference

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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