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Development of a new type of efficient vertical-axis wind power plant with up to 100 kW performance VAWinT 100

Project type:
ZIM (Central Innovation Programme Medium-Sized Companies)
Scientific personnel:
Dipl.-Ing. Iria Álvarez (until February 2016),
Christopher Felix, B. Eng. (from March 2016)
Specialist group:
Engineering
Term:
2015-01-05 to 2017-07-31
Cooperation partner:
STM Montage GmbH

In times of high energy prices, scarce resources and growing environmental awareness, regenerative energy sources have become a fixed element of national and international energy supplies. Wind energy in particular is the greatest alternative energy source in Germany. Experts predict that it will account for the biggest share of the energy mix by 2050 , since wind is one of the few forms of energy that is adequately available even in Germany.

Wind- und Sonnenenergie ist die Energie der Zukunft
Wind- und Sonnenenergie ist die Energie der Zukunft

The current wind energy market is dominated by horizontal-axis wind power turbines (also referred to below as HAWT). The latest systems now achieve a performance of several megawatt. However, systems of this type have complex site requirements and are therefore usually found only in large wind parks and exposed locations.

Whilst the importance of small and medium wind power stations has meanwhile increased significantly, still far too few of them are installed. There are currently approx. 10,000 small wind power generators in Germany. Exact numbers are not available because installations of small wind power units are currently not registered statistically.

The currently installed 1st and 2nd class vertical-axis wind turbines in particular (referred to below as VAWinT),are relegated to a twilight existence despite major advantages over the HAWT facilities, such as:

  1. Independence of the wind direction;
  2. Lower height;
  3. Lower maintenance costs due to easier access to their most maintenance-intensive components, namely the rotor, generator and more recently the newly developed decoupler;
  4. Fewer overall demands on their location. They can for instance also be installed on sites with major wind turbulence.
Many areas, which are still available, are unsuitable for installing horizontal-axis wind turbines and therefore create new impetus for the erection of vertical-axis systems.

Problems with the susceptibility of the VAWinT to vibrations and their overall stability are currently still the key issues with regard to their practical acceptance.

VAWAT mit H-Darrieus Rotor
VAWAT mit H-Darrieus Rotor

In the context of this R project, a user-friendly, marketable solution is being sought for these problems.

The work focuses chiefly on using the H-Darrieus rotor (cf. illustration). Efficient lattice towers consisting of steel angle profiles or tubes are intended to serve as supporting structures. While developments in the field of machine and system technology have made good progress, the construction of efficient and cost-effective support structures for VAWinT remain problematic.

Apart from the development of an optimised H-Darrieus rotor, this R cooperation project will deal with the development and required new construction of two further VAWinT modules:

1) a decoupling system that will be switched between the rotor and the support structure (tower) to dampen the vibrations of the rotor, and
2) a new support structure design.

As part of the VAWinT-100 Project, a vibration-dampened support and drive structure for medium-sized, vertical-axis wind power systems with a performance range of 50 to 100 kW is to be developed.