DIY Wind Turbine Demos Super-Efficient Design

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.

DIY Wasp Wind Turbine

image via PDEwasps/Instructables

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!

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Mohamed abutaleb

      good challenge
       free solidworks tutorials

    • energystar

      this is not a New idea. There is a wind turbine company in Rochester NY that has this machine in production.

    • Markku Tahkokorpi

      It looks like designers are assuming that wind always blows from the same direction?

    • If the high speed rails become one long alternative energy generator from states to states, from states where sunlight can be concentrated to states where moisture and rain falls on mud are naturally electric batteries each yards while farming our foods … winds and rainy states can build all major road fences with wind turbines and flood prevention drainage turbines. We don’t have to give birth to gasoline exhaust induced autism children ourselves.