Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers make advances in wind energy generation

19.07.2005


Engineers at the University of Alberta have created a wind energy generator that they hope people will one day be able to use to power their own homes.



"We have developed a simple, reliable, controller for small scale wind energy generators that is cheaper than competing technologies," said Dr. Andy Knight, a professor in the U of A Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and lead author of a paper on the subject published recently in IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion.

The traditional problem with harnessing wind energy has been the high cost and the low return of energy, especially for small-scale generators, Knight explained. A particular problem is that the devices have been unable to convert any energy when winds fall below specific cut off speeds, and much energy is therefore wasted.


However, Knight’s open loop control system can be built with a few, simple electronic components that are cheap and easy to find, use and repair. As well, Knight’s system is able to transfer even light winds into electric energy.

Although Knight and his colleagues have not yet built anything that is ready to sell, they have designed and tested a generator that they are working to improve before they expect to apply for a patent and possibly bring it to market.

Current small-scale wind energy generators cost about $2,400 US and, on an average wind speed day, produce 5.2 kiloWatt-Hours per day, Knight said. According to Natural Resources Canada, the average household consumes between 34 and 67 kiloWatt-Hours per day.

Generally, current small-scale wind energy generators require wind speeds of at least 18 km/h to generate any power, but Knight’s device could be used in low wind environments, such as the Edmonton, Alberta area, where the average wind is 10 km/h.

"But it wouldn’t be something you’d put in your garden. Energy is already cheap and abundant in Edmonton, so it wouldn’t be financially viable in the city," Knight said, adding that fast turning wind turbines in a small yard would create a hazard.

However, the generators could be used at remote locations outside of the city, where the power supply is more expensive and less abundant.

Based on the results of his ongoing work, Knight is hopeful that wind energy might one day become a clean, renewable, viable source of energy for everyone to use, which would counter the environmental damage occurring from our current use of fossil fuels as our main source for energy.

"My work is something that can make a small change, and it’s probably a bunch of small changes here and there that will add up and one day have a big impact," he said.

Ryan Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca
http://feynman.ee.ualberta.ca/squealed/academic.php?fname=Andy&lname=Knight

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>