Wind power is one of our favorite (and most promising) types of renewable energy. As the industry grows, the sophistication of wind energy harvesting technologies is growing as well. While the traditional three-blade turbine is still the most popular, we’ve also seen turbines that give a weather report, generate clean water and float in the breeze.
Most of these complex wind turbine concepts were dreamed up by engineers and electricians with years of professional experience, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who can come up with inspiring new ways to generate power from a passing breeze. A couple of students studying product design engineering at the University of Glasgow School of Art recently released their design plans for a super efficient DIY wind turbine.
Challenged to design a wind powered generator in the most efficient manner possible, a student team calling themselves “the Wasps” came up with this horizontal axis wind turbine that features the addition of a cone-like tunnel that helps to increase wind flow over the blades, thereby increasing energy output. (It’s not a crazy idea; we’ve seen it in development on a larger scale by an Oklahoma company.)
“For the nozzle we chose an arc with a radius of 61cm made of a thin and bendable sheet of plastic,” writes the team in the plans posted on Instructables. They note that the dimensions are open to modification but the smaller the outlet area in comparison to the inlet area, the greater is the difference in speed (the outlet velocity is greater than the inlet velocity) which leads to an increase in kinetic energy the rotor is able to catch.
The team executed its DIY wind turbine with the help of plans drawn in Solidworks and a blade that was realized using a 3D rapid printer, so this might be out of the scope of the typical weekend hacker. However, those who have the capabilities might find it is time very well spent. The team reports that during testing the device managed to reach 33 volts using 47 Ohms, resulting in a power output of 23 watts. Not too shabby!