Breakthrough In Small Wind Technology
The main work of wind turbines is to utilize the energy of wind and convert it into electricity; stronger wind is considered good for electricity production. But the speed of wind should not be too strong because it makes turbines spin too fast and in this process it commits suicide! Why is it so? Because turbine blades get ripped off by stronger winds – excessive heat damages the alternator. Turbine tower too can’t remain unaffected by the strong wind. To prevent all this damage a mechanical breaking system furling is generally used. This method prevents wind turbine from spinning too quickly by turning the blades away from the direction of the wind. Furling can be manual or automatic with same goal i.e. turning the turbine blade edges into the wind when the wind is dangerously strong and stormy.
Furling acts by decreasing the angle of attack, which lessens the induced drag from the lift of the rotor, as well as the cross-section. One major problem in designing wind turbines is getting the blades to stall or furl quickly enough when hit by a gust of wind. A fully furled turbine blade, when stopped, has the edge of the blade facing into the wind. But True North Power NG has launched a small wind turbine without a mechanical furling system at their test site in Ayr, Ontario, Canada. Instead of furling system they are using a microprocessor which will manage the speed and power of the wind turbine rotor in all winds. This system was introduced this month and named as True North Power’s 1kW WIND ARROW. AFCTM’s USP is that it lets the WIND ARROW turbine to generate power under control in high speed winds when usual wind turbines have to be stopped or being forced in and out of wind mechanically.
Senior US and Canadian researchers termed this system as “first intelligent controller” because it works without mechanical furling system. They find this system more reliable than usual turbine controllers. The biggest advantage of this system is that it produces more energy annually than typical mechanical braking systems of the same size. This “intelligent controller” with no furling parts and fewer parts overall, is less prone to wear and tear and minimizes its opportunity for failure.
The AFCTM manipulates the WIND ARROW turbine and slows the speed when it approaches the power limit at around 30mph (~50km/hr) and 1200 watts. The AFCTM pulls strings or here, blades of turbines at optimal speed, until the wind gusts subside. The AFCTM releases the turbine once the wind gusts subside, so that it quickly regains its equilibrium in terms of speed and power. This AFCTM achieves all this tasks incessantly without putting additional burden on the system. If a wind speeds above 40 or even 50mph (~80km/hr) is experienced for a prolonged period, the turbine is controlled against over speeding while continuing to produce as much as 30% or more of its stated power. The controller has excellent mechanism when a storm approaches. It switches on its SOS mode or prefers Storm-Otto-Shutdown. The SOS mode is equipped with an electromagnetic braking system. The breaks remain operational till the storm subsides or waits for an operator to restart the system (controller RESET).
Intelligent controllers like the AFCTM are the need of the hour and they have an advantage over eco-friendly energy solutions.