|The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) repository holds full-text theses and dissertations submitted for higher degrees at the University (including submissions from former Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon).|
Comparison of fixed diameter and variable diameter wind turbines driving a permanent magnet hub motor
The amount of power a horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) can produce is determined by two main factors, wind velocity and rotor swept area. Theory dictates that the power production of a horizontal wind turbine is related to the cube of wind velocity and the square of the turbine diameter (or radius). The power produced at any given time is thus dependent on of the wind velocity and the rotor swept area of the turbine. Wind is variable in availability and consistency. Very little can be done to effect the wind velocity passing through the turbine rotor area and its effect is minimal. Thus understandably if more power is required, from the same wind velocity, the rotor diameter must be increased. A variable length blade can adapt lengthwise to accommodate low wind velocities and similarly high wind velocities during extreme conditions, thus increasing the operational time and power production of the turbine. The work undertaken in this thesis is a comparative study between standard design, fixed length blades to that of a modified design, variable length blade. The project entailed the design and development of small diameter HAWT blades and experimental testing. The turbine blades were designed using applicable theory and manufactured from available materials. For the experiments, the turbine was mounted on a vehicle and driven at various speeds. Due to size limitations, no dynamic adaption was done during testing. The variable length design blade was obtained by cutting increments off. The results obtained from each test were compared at corresponding points and conditions. Final interpretation of results lead to the conclusion that by increasing or decreasing the turbine blade length the area of turbine energy capture can be adjusted to affect the amount of power produced. Additional benefits included, force reduction during extreme operating conditions, extended production period for the turbine and a mechanical start up method during low wind speeds. The financial feasibility did not form part of the scope of this thesis and the technical feasibility of the concept can be thoroughly addressed in future research.