2016 President's Report - page 6-7

Clarkson University
7
6
President’s Report
WIND ENERGY
Improving Wind Turbine Efficiency?
It’s All in the Design.
A new design for small wind turbines leads to greater efficiency and a big increase in energy
production. It also promises to revolutionize the residential market for wind energy.
By Jonathan Brown
If you took
a slice from
our duct, it
would look like
the airfoil of an
airplane wing.
—Prof. KenVisser
Prof. Ken Visser with his turbine at a testing facility.
WindApp
is a mobile wind
energy application developed
by Prof. Visser that is available
through Energy Research
Applications, a company he
started with the help of the
Shipley Center for Innovation.
“Most people don’t know
what's involved in choosing a
wind turbine, how much energy
is generated or what the power
rating means,” says Visser. “WindApp offers an easy,
practical way for the public to determine which wind option
is best for them.”
The app figures out the user’s location, the local wind
speed and how much energy could be generated when a
particular turbine is selected. It then computes how long
it will take to pay back the turbine choice, based on the
buyer’s local electric rates.
Through the Shipley Center, Visser connected with
Jack of Trade Apps, an incubator company founded by
alumnus Andrew Davis ’98.
Jack of Trade Apps developed a mobile version of
WindApp that runs on both
Apple and Android phones and
tablets. They also created a
content management system
for WindApp so that as new
turbines and wind turbine
installers come on board, the
app will automatically update
the data on the user’s device.
Learn more or download the app:
energyresearchapplications.com/wind-app
radically different-looking wind turbine is in the works at Clarkson.
It can produce twice the energy of a similar-sized, conventional turbine.
Professor Ken Visser along with his graduate students Ben Kanya,
Nojan Sadeghi and others built and tested a ducted turbine with a rotor
diameter of 2.5 meters, an ideal size to produce energy for household use.
The concept of a ducted turbine itself isn’t new. Designs for a
duct that would wrap around a turbine’s rotor to increase the rotor’s
performance go back about 100 years.
But Visser’s innovative design includes two patented technologies: a
novel blade design and the unique placement of the turbine rotor in the
duct itself. Operating in an area with an average wind speed of five meters
per second, this turbine would produce up to half of the electricity used
annually by a typical U.S. home.
The associate professor of aeronautical & mechanical engineering
recently tested the uniquely designed turbine for the first time at the
University of Waterloo Wind Turbine Test Tunnel. “The numbers we are
seeing,” he says, “could revolutionize the market.”
To get these results, Visser altered the way his turbine takes in wind.
Picture a giant tube. This tube is a stream of air. Most small turbines
can pull around 30 percent of the energy from this stream. Visser’s turbine
is able to “grab” more air from a bigger wind stream tube, the equivalent
of more than 80 percent of that original stream’s energy.
Ducted turbines, like Visser’s, also change the shape of the captured
air stream as it moves, from a tubular shape to an hourglass shape. The
increased air flow moves faster at the narrower point, contributing to the
increased power output.
Visser’s experience designing large commercial aircraft led him to a
more complex kind of duct. “If you took a slice from our duct, it would
look like the airfoil of an airplane wing.” And, while ducted turbine designs
have usually placed the rotor at the narrowest part of the air stream, Visser’s
blades are located downstream, just past the pinched part of the hourglass.
Perhaps most importantly, the turbine promises to significantly
reduce the cost per unit of energy generated.
Visser’s turbine is already generating interest. He recently partnered
with an energy professional to launch Ducted Turbines International
(DTI) to commercialize this technology.
“There is more work to be done and many engineering decisions still
to be made,” he says, “but I’d love to see people using this turbine design.
It simply harnesses more energy. It will be a game-changer.”
Learn more at:
ductedturbinesinternational.com
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