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ENGG1500 Assessment 2a

Student number: c3257840

Discipline: Mechanical engineering

Workshop class: WR16, Tuesday 1300-1500

Team number: 1
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Currently, fossil fuels remain the predominant source of energy production

throughout the world. In fact, 86% of electricity generated in Australia in 2014 was

from fossil fuel [1]. However, the reliance of fossil fuels can be detrimental to the

human health and the environment [2]. Study showed that 50000 premature deaths in

North America were initiated by the inhalation of sulphate and other particles

produced during the combustion of fossil fuels [3]. Aside from damaging the human

health, usage of fossil fuel can also contribute to global warming [2]. In addition to

the existing problems, the resource of fossil fuel is depleting. With the current rate of

fossil fuel usage, it is suggested that coal reserve will only be obtainable until 2112

and it will be the last type of fossil fuel after 2042 [4]. To reduce dependency on fossil

fuels, scientists and engineers have implemented new technology to harvest kinetic

energy from the wind and convert it into electrical power using wind turbine [4]. Due

to its sustainability and minimal impact on the environment, this method of electricity

generation has been widely adopted, and the number of the wind turbine has been

dramatically increased [5]. However, there are some drawbacks regarding the usage

of wind turbine. Large-scale wind turbine, although efficient in producing electricity,

are loud and require continual maintenance, which makes their usage economically

unfeasible [5]. These constraints, however, led to the increasing development of

small-scale wind turbines that cost less to produce and can adapt better to wind

direction. The advancement in small-scale wind turbine allows electricity to be

generated and supplied to off grid isolated locations [6]. This report does not aim to

solve the global energy crisis; however, its intention is to provide a detailed

background of a small-scale wind turbine that can generate enough electrical energy

to charge a mobile phone and meets the constraint within the ENGG1500 course.
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1.1 Problem

The problem of this project is to build a small-scale wind turbine that can generate enough

electricity to charge a mobile phone with a design that can potentially be sold to hobbyists

within the constraints set in the ENGG1500 course [7].

1.2 Constraints

To satisfy these constraints, the turbine must be able to [7]:

_operate without any potential harm due to sharp edges or loose fitting of the build.

_operate under the wind condition of 11 m/s and continue to operate when the base of the

turbine is rotated by 30 degrees away from the wind source.

_ generate enough electricity to charge a mobile phone.

_ provide convenient access to the generator so that it can easily be detached

_ fit in a box that is 750 mm high and has a 500 mm by 500 mm square base

_be built at the cost of 100$

_be made within ten weeks


2.1 Principal guiding the working mechanism of the wind turbine

Wind turbines work under the principal of harvesting kinetic energy from the wind to

rotate the blades of the turbine in order to generate electricity [8]. This harvesting of kinetic

energy can be done through a drag-based or lift-based mechanism. Drag force refers to the

force that acts in the opposite direction of the object while lift force is the force acting

perpendicular to the wind direction and push the object upward [9].

In a drag-based mechanism, the wind flows directly toward the surface of the blades and

causes the blades to rotate and allows electricity to be generated. The shape of the blade is

flat which is inefficient to produce large scale electricity compared to the lift-based
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mechanism, and consequently, such mechanism is not widely used commercially [9]. This is

because the blade shape can gain an opposing drag force during rotation such that it

dramatically reduces the tip speed (the speed of the blades in rotation)[9]. When tip speed is

reduced, less wind energy can be converted and the efficiency of electricity generation is

compromised [9]. (Figure 1)

Conversely, the lift-based mechanism uses the curvature of the blade to generate lift

force. The curved blades allow air flow to be deflected downward which pushes the blades

upward and start the rotation to produce electricity [10]. The lift-based mechanism is the

most used method to convert wind energy into electricity due to its ability to maintain a high

tip speed. With high tip speed, more wind power can be converted into electricity which

makes the design the most efficient for electricity production [7]. (Figure 2)

Figure 1 [17] Figure 2 [17]

2.1 Types of wind turbines (Horizontal and Vertical axis wind turbines)

Currently, wind turbines are categorised into two types Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine

and Vertical Axis Wind Turbine [7]. The horizontal axis wind turbine is a type of wind

turbine design in which the shaft (axis of rotation) is parallel to the ground, and the blades are

perpendicular to the ground [10]. In contrast, the vertical axis wind turbine is a type of wind

turbine design in which the rotating shaft (axis of rotation) is perpendicular to the ground, and

the blades rotate parallel to the ground [10].

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2.2 Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT)

Lift-based HAWT Drag-based HAWT

Figure 3 [7] Figure 3 [7]

Horizontal axis wind turbines are the widely-used wind turbine in the world. It is

divided into two categories, according to their way of harvesting the wind energy, lift based

and drag based [7]. However, the drag-based design is the least popular amongst the two

types. This is due to its small power generation and the high cost of production as it requires

more material to manufacture [10]. Despite that, such design has some distinct advantages

over the lift-based design due to its less sophisticated blade design and high torque

production [11].

Conversely, lift-based horizontal axis turbine produces more energy and requires less

material to manufacture compared to drag based HAWT [7]. Its high-energy production is

primarily due to its aerodynamic blades designs. Careful design of the blade shape allows for

a greater lift force to be generated which is essential in producing higher tip speed (blade

speed) [12]. The faster the blades spin, the more electricity the turbine generates. As shown in

figure 3, as the wind speed increases, more energy output is produced [7]. However, on this

graph when wind speed reaches 34 mph the energy production of the 1kW turbine begins to

stagnate, this is due to the protection mechanism of this 1kW turbine against high wind

speed. Each type of wind turbine has its own unique protection mechanism against high wind


Figure 5 [7]
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To design efficient blades, the aerodynamics of the blades needs to be considered. This

involves maximising the lift force and minimising the drag force [7]. Greater lift force allows

the blade to spin fast and thus more energy is produced. Lift force can be maximised through

optimising the angle of attack and the twisting of the blade, which allows the blades to have

an optimum angle of attack at each point across the blade span [7]. The angle of attack is the

angle in which the blade is twisted between the chord line and the relative airflow (figure5)

[12]. In theory, the greater the angle of attack the higher the lift force can be generated

(figure7) [13]. However, if the angle of attack gets too high the air flow does not conform to

the surface of the blade, and the lift force gets destroyed, and this is called stalle (figure7)

[14]. Consequently, the blades can no longer spin and electricity cannot be generated.

Therefore, maximising the efficiency of the wind turbine is a delecate balancing act between

optimising the angle of attack and preventing stall from occurring.

Figure 5 [7]

Normal airflow through the blade

Figure 6 [18] Increased angle of attack leads to increase in lift. The

airflow on the bottom surface of the blades push
downward than in figure 6 as the angle of attack is
Figure 7 [18]

Lift force ceased to produce due high angle of
In addition to the aerodynamics of the blades, the number of attack. Wind on the upper part of the surface of
the blade stops conforming to shape. Stall is
created. Figure 8 [18]
blades can also influence the performance of the turbine. A study in

2011 shows that the efficiency of the turbine increases when the number of blades increases

[10]. The study also indicates that two-bladed wind turbines are 2-4% less efficient that three

bladed turbines, while the one-bladed design is less efficient than the two bladed one by 6%

[10]. It is ideal to include more blades in the design, however; the increasing number of
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blades equates to the increases in weight of the turbine. Therefore, more resources are needed

to build structural support for the turbine such as the tower and the foundation, which results

in an increasing constraint to the budget [5].

Since the horizontal axis wind turbine requires a direct wind flow to operate, a yaw

control system is needed to change the direction of the turbine toward the wind direction [10].

A yaw control system is located on the tail of the turbine and consist of a wind direction

sensor and an anemometer which measures the speed of the wind [10]. The information

collected from the two devices is sent to a control system that direct the turbine to the

direction of the wind flow [10].

2.3 Vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT)

Figure 9 [18]

The vertical axis wind turbine is a type of wind turbine design in which the rotating

shaft (axis of rotation) is perpendicular to the ground, and the blades rotate parallel to the

ground [10]. One major advantage of this design is the blades can receive air from any

direction, therefore, the cost of a yaw control system can be eliminated [10]. Like the

horizontal axis wind turbine, the vertical axis wind turbine can be categorised into two main

categories drag based and lift based.

Savonius-Rotor is a drag based design. It requires the force of the wind to push the

blades. Therefore, it cannot move faster than the wind speed, and consequently, the energy

output is very minimal [14]. A study shows that tip speed ratio of such turbine is less than
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one and the power coefficient is 0.3 to 0.33 which is the lowest of all types of VAWT. Thus,

making this design unsuited for the task of high energy production [14]. To increase

efficiency, the size of the turbine needs to be increased; however, increased in size leads to

increase in cost of production and maintenance, which makes its usage economically

unviable [7]. Although not suited for large-scale energy production, such design can be useful

for low energy productions due to its simplistic design. Savonius-Rotor can be made by

cutting a barrel in half therefore it is cost efficient for generating small scale electricity.
Power Coefficient vs Tip to speed ratio graph

Figure 10 [18]
Drag based HAWT

Darrius-rotor works on the principal of lift-based mechanism, which means that its

blades are designed with an optimisation of the angle of attack to generate a high amount of

lift force [16]. As a result, such turbine design is more efficient in electricity generation than

drag based mechanism. However, the major drawback with this designs its low torque

production at low wind speed [16]. Torque is a type of force that causes objects to rotate.

With small or negative torque, the Darrius has the problem with self-starting (fail to rotate at

low wind speed) and therefore requires extra force to begin rotation until the wind speed is

high enough to allow the turbine to rotate by itself [16]. Such problem can easily be

addressed through by using an odd number of blades or using another sub-system to initiate

the rotation [16]. The use of an additional sub-system is not practical as it adds substantial

cost to the turbine construction.

Lift force in VAWT

Figure 11 [18]
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The main objective of this project is to make a small-scale wind turbine that can charge a

mobile phone and satisfy the constraints emplaced within this course. To satisfy one of the

constraints the turbine needs to be built within a 100$ budget. Consequently, the drag based

HAWT design will be eliminated from the solution due to the high cost of materials needed

to build the turbine. Another constraint was the performance; it is expected that the turbine

can charge a mobile phone. A typical phone charger is 65w. Therefore, turbine designs that

do not have the potential to produce such power will also be eliminated. According to the

power coefficient graph in figure 3, the Savonius has the lease power coefficient. To generate

such power, the size of the turbine will need to be larger, which in turn will violate the

constraint of size and height that are restricted to 500mm x 500mm and 750mm respectively.

Moreover, the increase in size also leads to the increase in the budget for material, therefore

making the design unfeasible to be built under 100$. The constraint also indicates that the

turbine must continue to operate when the base of the turbine is rotated 30 degrees away from

the wind direction. The lift based HAWT can produce the most amount of energy; however,

it requires a yaw control system to direct itself into the wind. Sensor based yaw control

system like the Davis Weather 6410 Anemometer for Vantage Pro costs 208$ which is

already double the budget size. Therefore, such yaw control system will not be used. On the

other hand, manually crafting the yaw mechanism requires large amount of time to build due

to the complexity of the aerodynamic, which might delay the completion of the project before

week 10. Consequently, this design will also be eliminated. The only option left is the Darrius

design. The turbine uses lift force to rotate the blade, which makes efficient in generating

electricity. In fact, its energy output is second to the lift-based HAWT (figure 3). Therefore,

we are confident that it can generate enough electricity to power a mobile phone. Moreover,

this wind turbine is VAWT, which means the turbine can receive wind flow from any
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direction and consequently in theory such turbine will continue to operate when the base of

the turbine is rotated 30 degrees away from the wind direction. In addition, the component of

this turbine design is housed at the foundation of the turbine. This allows easy access for

maintenance and the attachment and detachment of the generator. This design is also low cost

in production as the tower of the turbine is not needed to provide structural support to the

blades. Since this design can fulfil all the required constraints, we decided to base our design

on this Darrius model.

3.1 Design specification and Cost estimation

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