Let’s face it; wind energy is the answer to many of our environmental problems. The only thing that has been holding back the industry from taking off is efficiency. There are five tips for improving wind farm efficiencies that will help create a more sustainable future!
1. Generator by ExRo Technologies
Exo Technologies of Vancouver, Canada, has patented a new product named Variable Induction Electric Generator. They claim that it increases wind turbine output by up to 50%. The present design of wind turbines uses a mechanical gearbox to convert the low rotation speed of the blades to high speed. It is because the electric generator operates at high speed. These gearboxes have up to 10% energy loss, even when they are working at optimum speeds. Exo’s technology transfers power electronically, which eliminates the use of gears.
This article talks about five tips for improving wind farm efficiencies to create a sustainable future! The first tip they offer is Generator by Exro Technologies. This company has patented a new product that claims it increases output on turbines up to 50%. They do this because traditional gearboxes have up to ten percent energy loss even when operating at optimum speeds (Gearbox). However, there are no losses with electronic transfer rather than mechanical connection (Gears), thus increased efficiency.
The second tip they offer is adding more turbine blades without increasing blade size or material costs. Adding more edges creates less turbulence as well as smoother airflow over the surface area of the blade. This will allow a higher overall efficiency in the use of wind energy.
The third tip they offer is to stop circular motion on turbines by using 5% fewer gearboxes and 5% more generators, which would add up to an extra 5-15 percent of power output over time (Gearbox). With this method, there are no losses because instead of gears spinning one way while going through the same amount of torque for both directions when turning around again; it uses two generators that can turn either way at the same speed or might be even slower than the blades themselves depending how much electricity you need! Another benefit with five tips for improving winds farm efficiencies is that some support structures like towers are made smaller, meaning there is less need for material and less infrastructure (Wind Turbine).
The fourth tip they offer is removing 5% of the weight on wind turbines. There are many ways to do this, but one way would be by using carbon fiber blades, which weigh about 5x less than aluminum blades while still being just as strong! This will also reduce the spinning velocity required to maintain optimal efficiency levels.
The last tips offered are more like guidelines: getting other countries involved with investing in sustainable solutions, researching low-cost, durable materials that can withstand extreme weather conditions, and finally embracing renewable energy policies such as net metering or feed-in tariffs that pay homeowners to produce their electricity from renewable sources.
2. Rubber trailing edge flap
Denmark is home to the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. The Danish Technical University has made several innovations in wind turbine technology. A recent finding is that if the turbine blades are fitted with a movable flap at the trailing edge, it would reduce stresses on the blade and increase life. The concept is similar to retractable flaps on an aircraft wing during landing and take-off when there are high stresses on the wings.
For the wind turbine application, DTU is working on a rubber flap with fiber-reinforced cavities fitted to the blade edge to form a continuous surface but which has the flex to yield to wind gusts to reduce stress on the blade.
3. Rope climbing robot inspects Wind Turbines
Wind Turbine blades are ee subject to damage from grit and other flying objects carried by the Wind. Exposure to weather and Wind also results in fatigue cracks. The turbine blades need to be inspected at regular intervals. Inspection by a technician would involve his climbing a 50 meter or higher mast, carrying inspection equipment.
This is hazardous, and scheduled inspections often get deferred due to weather or other reasons. Require to be inspected every five years. The rope climbing robot developed by the Technical University of Darmstadt is explicitly designed for this task. A video from YouTube shows a prototype working on inspecting turbines at night and high up in the air, which would typically be dangerous or impossible for an inspector.
The rope climbing robot has four wheels that can rotate 360 degrees and three ropes attached to it to climb with its weight distributed over these ropes like a spider’s web (string). It moves up one end of each blade before going around the other side of the edges towards connecting them. They use off-the-shelf servo motors controlled with custom software written in LabVIEW to manage all aspects of the movement. The ropes are specially designed to be flexible and robust.
The rope climbing robot inspects the blades with cameras, sensors for detecting cracks in the blade material or metal fatigue, microphones that can detect any sound of structural faults from within the edges before they fail catastrophically (e.g., an air gun which is fired inside a turbine). It gives a detailed report through its telemetry about each wind turbine providing information on how worn out it might be and what maintenance needs to be done to remain efficient over time.
4. Computer codes for modeling wind systems
New materials, novel blade shapes, and advanced sensors are being incorporated into wind turbine designs. With them, it becomes imperative to develop computer models to analyze and predict performance. This would help in reducing the time and cost of building and testing prototypes. The Sandia National Labs has come up with several programs, such as FAST and AeroDyn, in the public domain. These models need to find acceptance from other countries as well.
5. Laser Sensors to make Wind Turbines more efficient
Wind Turbines are already fitted with controls to move the turbine to face the wind direction for optimum power generation. These controls respond based on the wind speed and leadership at the blade. Catch the Wind, a Virginia-based company has developed a fiber-optic. It is based on a laser device that has to be mounted on top of a wind turbine mast. This laser-based sensor can sense wind speeds and directions at 100 meters distance from the turbine.
Moreover, it gives a 20-second early warning to the turbine controls of an impending wind shift. This early signal enables the blade controls to deploy in time. This helps in optimizing the blade angle and direction ahead of the Wind hitting the blades. This device is said to increase power output by some 10%.
There are 5 Tips for Improving Wind Farm Efficiencies.
New materials, novel blade shapes, and advanced sensors are being incorporated into wind turbine designs to make them more efficient. The rope climbing robot inspects the blades with cameras, sensors for detecting cracks in the blade material or metal fatigue, microphones that can detect any sound of structural faults from within the edges before they fail catastrophically (e.g., an air gun which is fired inside a turbine).
Laser Sensors to make Wind Turbines more efficient have been developed by Catch the Wind based on a fiber-optic laser device mounted on top of a wind turbine mast. This laser-based sensor can sense wind speeds and directions at 100 meters distance from the turbine.