Vertical Wind Turbine Design

Jenny asks…

Why are the blades on turbines not much wider (more surface area)?

As a non-mechanical engineer is not that obvious to me, but if we look at design of sails and commercial aircraft wings, bigger surface area means more power or more lift. Why is this larger area power gain concept not applied to the design of wind turbines? Including vertical turbines which seem to have even thinner blades.

Windmill Farms answers:

Needs a much bigger force (wind) to move it.
Can’t rely on a 20 mph wind, better to harness a 5 mph wind.

But please, make an effort to give ME a thumbs down because you like to.

Daniel asks…

Do you think the Maglev Wind Turbine will ever become a reality?
Phil, I disagree with both of your statements. First of all, the first video IS a turbine. I don’t know what definition of ‘turbine‘ you are using, but I assure you it is not correct.

Secondly, watch this video to see that this shape for wind turbines is not inefficient as you say.

Windmill Farms answers:

There’s been many vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) proposed over the last 40 years; yet, very few designs made it past the model/ theory stage for practical reasons. The web site for Mag Lev doesn’t describe any large or commercial size systems; but, some Chinese folks said in July, 2007 they wanted to build one. Its impossible to review objectively the installed costs they show per MW size output. Obviously, the friction losses for typical VAWTs causes much of the energy losses for them, in addition to the 10- 35% efficiency losses for drive trains and electrical generation equipment. The Tree Hugger site re: this theory added this comment:

“It would be more accurate to say that these turbines use magnetic bearings, as the term Mag Lev, implies magnetic levitation. So they are standard VAWT that use magnetic bearings to improve efficiency by reducing friction”. January 21, 2008 11:23 AM

Its been over 18 months since their youtube video and little else that’s concrete seem available; so, these seem theory, not reality.

Lizzie asks…

where i can find the detail design and drawings for vertical windmill power generation?

I want to make a windmill power generation for domestic use. I want to find the detialed drawings for a vertical windmill power generation tower.

Windmill Farms answers:

VAWT (vertical axis wind turbines) designs are around, checking the patent database might be your best bet, the TMA one is there. But just because they have a patent doesn’t mean that it works or works as well as they claim.

Many people simplify the discussion to one of windswept area (size of turbine) to shaft power, and claim they have the greatest efficency but the real issue is cost to construct to watts, with factors to be included in the cost such as longevity, and storm surviveablity. I myself am a wind energy researcher (as well as lot’s of other things) and find the TMA claims to be unlikely.

If you are looking for a nice simple design to build and learn from,
check out

they used a conventional auto alternator that caused them some grief, using a photovoltaic charge controler might have gotten them a lot more juice. They also chose simplicity to construct, but could have chosen a harder to build “wing” that might have given them almost twice the energy out.

Good Luck
remember that most great discoveries come from people who submerge themselves in all the available information, then get a good nites sleep

Sharon asks…

Do you have wind turbines going up all around you?

Would like some pros and cons on these turbines. Thanks.

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind turbines will be a major source of energy in the future. The turbines in use now seem huge, but the future ones can be twice as big as well as much smaller. A major breakthrough in design has occurred. The blade of the turbine will soon be like a circular vertical blind, hanging down from the top of 40 story buildings. The load bearings will be ‘mag-lev’ and friction free. This will reduce the maintenance and lubrication costs, and increase output per wind speed. They say that 1 of the large M-L WT units will equal 1,000 of the big statdard wind turbines. They say…

Here is a pic:
:-D The links are just what I Googled for. I am not sure that they are more than advertisements.

Expect these to be seen wherever cities are that have wind and can afford to put them up.

Pros: Much cheaper and cleaner than other sources of energy. Less noise and eye pollution, and safer to operate than the propeller style wind turbines. Small versions can use the wind from passing vehicles to power street lights. Will use wind from any direction without having to turn into the wind.

Cons: Large and unusual structures with attending power lines. Dependence on the wind for output. Some noise, although less that the propeller type of turbine..


William asks…

how can i make small wind turbine blades or rotor easily? that work in small amount of wind?

i copied one of the net but there isnt enough wind

Windmill Farms answers:

There are a number of small wind turbines you can work with that are designed for low wind speeds. The key to remember
when working with low wind speeds for horizontal or propeller type you need a broad short blades, like a pin- wheel. The blade angle to the wind should average about 45 degrees and not exceed 3 to 5 blades if they join at the hub.

The wind turbine design I prefer to work with are vertical axis articulating blade cycloturbine. The main characteristic is you need the blades to be light weight in vertical axis designs. The benefit is that they are more sensitive to light winds. The detriment is that to a degree they are not as efficient, (28-36% for vertical axis and 38% to 42% for horizontal axis) and some designs will not produce power through their entire rotation.

Good Luck,

Dave Cooke

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