Journal article

A New Miniature Wind Turbine for Wind Tunnel Experiments. Part I: Design and Performance

Miniature wind turbines, employed in wind tunnel experiments to study the interaction of turbines with turbulent boundary layers, usually suffer from poor performance with respect to their large-scale counterparts in the field. Moreover, although wakes of wind turbines have been extensively examined in wind tunnel studies, the proper characterization of the performance of wind turbines has received relatively less attention. In this regard, the present study concerns the design and the performance analysis of a new three-bladed horizontal-axis miniature wind turbine with a rotor diameter of 15 cm. Due to its small size, this turbine, called WiRE-01, is particularly suitable for studies of wind farm flows and the interaction of the turbine with an incoming boundary-layer flow. Especial emphasis was placed on the accurate measurement of the mechanical power extracted by the miniature turbine from the incoming wind. In order to do so, a new setup was developed to directly measure the torque of the rotor shaft. Moreover, to provide a better understanding on the connection between the mechanical and electrical aspects of miniature wind turbines, the performance of three different direct-current (DC) generators was studied. It is found that electrical outputs of the tested generators can be used to provide a rather acceptable estimation of the mechanical input power. Force and power measurements showed that the thrust and power coefficients of the miniature turbine can reach 0.8 and 0.4, respectively, which are close to the ones of large-scale turbines in the field. In Part II of this study, the wake structure and dynamic flow characteristics are studied for the new miniature turbine immersed in a turbulent boundary-layer flow.


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