Experimental and theoretical analysis of a novel vertical axis wind turbine with solar cell integration
There has been an increased interest in renewable energy systems in recent years as a result of concerns on depleting fossil fuel reserves and climate change. Wind and solar energy are amongst the most popular renewable energy technologies. In order to use the full or maximum possible extent of a renewable energy resource in a region, hybrid systems extracting wind and solar energy simultaneously are a popular and obvious choice.
It is desired to design hybrid systems that enhance the renewable energy output without increasing the foot print area compared to the base case of only wind or only solar energy. One potential way forward is to consider a vertical axis wind turbine with an enhanced surface area which can be used for mounting solar cells. This way the foot print area remains the same while both wind and solar power are obtained simultaneously. Renewable Energy Solutions LLC has manufactured a novel 2 m high and 2 m in diameter vertical axis wind turbine called Marilyn which has an enhanced surface area, which can be used for the aforementioned purpose.
This thesis focuses on the development of a hybrid solar-wind turbine design based on the Marilyn system. Firstly, the wind and solar resource was assessed at Austin, TX using weather monitoring instruments. Typical Meteorological Year 3 (TMY3) data was also used in conjunction with the measured data to estimate the wind and solar resource at Austin, TX. Secondly, the wind turbine performance was assessed based on whether is it able to achieve grid tie in for wind power production starting at wind speeds of 3-4 m/s. It was found that replacing the current generator with different model featuring higher voltage output at lower rotational speeds could help achieve this. Based on this suggested replacement and using the wind resource data, the yearly wind energy production was estimated to be 240 kWh. Finally, a theoretical analysis was performed for estimating the yearly solar energy production. A base case analysis was first made on power production on a particular day of the year if only the top portion of every alternate face of the turbine is covered with flexible 3.4 % efficient solar cells. This analysis is subsequently extended to the case when flexible 20 % efficient solar cells cover the entire top surface of the turbine and the corresponding conservative yearly solar energy output was estimated to be 310 kWh. Thus the total yearly energy output from the Marilyn hybrid system is 550 kWh, which is around 5 % of the annual electricity usage of a typical American home