Measuring wind turbine performance

Paul Boughton

Vertical axis wind turbines are enjoying a revival of popularity, as they offer a number of advantages over the more conventional propeller-type horizontal axis generators. They tend to be quieter and safer, do not need to be turned to face into the wind, and their construction is relatively simple because there are few unbalanced loads. Finally, they are considered by many people to be less visually obtrusive in sensitive landscapes.

Roy Wirachai, a researcher at the University of Northumbria’s Mechanical Engineering Department is undertaking a programme to analyse the performance of various types of vertical axis turbines. He set up a Darrieus-type turbine which proved able to self-start at wind speed about 4m/se and to rotate at 50rpm in wind speed of 7 m/sec. Torque and speed were measured by the transducer.

“Ultimately we are trying to establish power coefficients and optimised design,” says Roy. “It’s painstaking work, so I am delighted that the TorqSense has always performed perfectly, taking accurate measurements and never failing.”

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