Eastern produces VAWT ‘turbine in a box’

Eastern produces VAWT 'turbine in a box'

by Wind Power Monthly, January 31, 2014




UNITED STATES: Eastern Wind Power hopes to offer its small vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) 'in a box' as soon as 2014.

The system can be transported by helicopter in a standard container to remote areas for use by the military or during a disaster. The 50kW turbine could then be pneumatically or mechanically erected for operation using the box as its base.

On a recent snowy autumn's day, a prototype Sky Farm turbine – which uses a Siemens inverter system – was operating at the airport on Martha's Vineyard island off Massachusetts.

The turbine has three carbon-fibre blades, stainless steel components and regenerative drive braking.

Eastern claimed the turbine would be suitable for use above city skyscrapers. One issue that must still be solved, however, is how to prevent ice on the blades so the turbines are safe for pedestrians below.

Siemens, which does not make small wind turbines, said using its off-the-shelf components for distributed power held wider possibilities. It said the Sky Farm could be combined with battery storage or gas turbines in a hybrid.

Vertical-axis wind turbine tolerates turbulent wind

Vertical-axis wind turbine tolerates turbulent wind

by Windpower Engineering&Development, October 28, 2013


Conventional or horizontal-axis wind turbines are most commonly encountered in the wind industry. In ideal conditions, one can produce a lot of energy, but the design is are less productive in turbulent wind. Vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWT), however, can capture wind energy when it is inconsistent or turbulent. With this in mind, Eastern Wind Power (www.easternwindpower.com) developed the Sky Farm 50-kW VAWT that withstands quickly changing winds in urban and rural settings. The company says the turbine works well on high-rise buildings, rooftops, pole-mounted in open areas, or as a mobile unit, and can provide power for basic needs, such as lighting.
The turbine is ideal for islands and developing countries because it can supply power in areas where electricity is scarce or expensive. What’s more, the turbine’s design allows mounting two or more close together, which would produce its namesake, a Sky Farm.
At Martha’s Vineyard Airport in Massachusetts, the VAWT proved its endurance by tolerating turbulence whipped up by aircraft. For instance, the Colgan Air twin engine-turbo prop provided a High Wind Test that generated hurricane-force winds, up to 110 mph.
A mobile version of the turbine can serve as a self-contained power station or assist other utilities feeding electricity to the grid. The technology meets the needs of disaster relief services, rural electrification micro-grid applications, rural communications-ground stations, and military defense-field operations. The unit is simple to install in the field because the hydraulic hardware for erecting the tower is adapted from a traditional fire truck, says the company. The turbine is shipped in a 20 ft. ISO container that also serves as the turbine’s foundation. Its blades are hinged at the connection joints and open like a tripod locking in an open rigid position.
The Sky Farm turbine uses three, six-meter carbon-fiber blades and stainless-steel castings for increased endurance. The company says the turbine keeps a low-noise profile compared to conventional turbines and poses less risk to birds. Also, the absence of a gearbox decreases mechanical issues.


VAWT on the Vineyard: Small Wind Revisited

VAWT on the Vineyard: Small Wind Revisited

by Renewable Energy World, November 22, 2013



There's a fairly robust market for small-scale distributed wind systems (SWT) Navigant Consulting projects global installations will grow from an around 85 MW in 2012 to 172 MW in 2018 with revenues topping $728 million, and $3.3 billion cumulatively from 2013-2018, especially due to growing popularity of community- and municipality-owned systems. Urban environments are another attractive market, packing a bunch of energy-producing machines on the corner of a high-rise roof.
Addressing this sector are two general types of wind turbine designs, horizontal-axis (HAWT) and vertical-axis (VAWT). Proponents of VAWTs point to benefits of working in slower wind speeds, ability to be packed closer together, and easier installation and maintenance — but VAWT's past is checkered due to unfulfilled performance claims and mechanical issues (and the industry's embrace of centralized megawatt-scale HAWT designs). Nonetheless VAWTs are still getting some attention, including several recent high-profile installations at Adobe and the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles stadium.
Last week I got a first-hand look at one startup company's VAWT product, which seeks to fill a market need for small-scale distributed power generation in both urban settings and remote and off-grid situations. Since 2010 it's been perched in a corner of the Martha's Vineyard airport (MVY), producing power.
Coming from planning and design backgrounds, Eastern Wind Power's Jonathan and Linda Haar wanted to see new distributed energy options for urban populated areas, but wanted something more robust to offer commercial-scale output vs. what they termed "vanity" 5-10 kW turbines. Ultimately they decided on a VAWT lift-phase design with an H-type rotor, but when building the prototype they realized they needed a specialized inverter. Meanwhile, Siemens' Drive Technologies division had been exploring how its systems to convert and connect kinetic energy into the grid could be applied at a smaller scale, particularly for small-scale wind and hydropower, explained Razvan Panaitescu, business development manager for distributed power generation and microgrids.
Putting the two together created EWP's 50-kW Sky Farm VAWT, shown below sitting at the airport. Here's what they tout as its key features:
– The blades and struts are made from a cross woven carbon fiber composite with internal reinforcement ribs, with critical connection points fabricated in high-strength stainless steel. (Those reinforcements were a recent design tweak, as were the struts visibly extended by several inches.) A hydrophobic material applied to the blade tips aims to to increase longevity and prevent icing; tests have been conducted atop the meteorologically formidable Mount Washington, and this winter EWP will start using a new and improved material from Harvard dubbed "SLIPS".
– Siemens is contributing the power generation and conversion components in what it calls a "motion-to-grid" package: a 55-kW generator and smart inverter with internal regenerative drive system, housed in a horse trailer next to the turbine (no previous equine tenants). Inverter output is 480 V, three-phase 60 Hz which they claim is "easily convertible" to 50 Hz and different output voltages. All the components are UL/CE listed. Siemens sees small wind, and small hydro, as perfect testbeds to show how off-the-shelf standard industrial equipment can convert and connect kinetic energy into the grid, at slower speeds and a smaller scale. There's no gearbox, and the braking system is pneumatic, both of which eliminate key wear/tear points. And the shaft bearings from NSK have been simulated for 1,000 hours of hurricane-force load and a 20-year sealed unit life.
– Theoretical models indicate a 36-38 percent efficiency, far better than a typical VAWT turbine of around 10-20 percent efficiency and comparable to the 30-40 percent of large-scale HAWT counterparts, according to Bo Tao, EWP's lead scientist. (His day job is at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.) The company says this VAWT has annual output of about 45,000 kWh based on what's been seen at the MVY airport in around 13-14 MPH wind speeds; that's also roughly what they've modeled using measurements atop a 300-ft building in a Boston wind environment averaging 8 meters/sec annual wind speeds. Cut-in wind speed is 3.6 m/sec, with operations up to an auto shutdown at 32 m/sec. (Fun fact: since the VAWT at MVY has sat basically at ground level for safety testing, they had to back up a turboprop plane and gun it to simulate high winds. Everything vanished from the site except the turbine which managed splendidly, they report.)
The EWP turbine has indeed been sending electricity to the island's NStar-operated grid, for which the airport gets a monthly check for $200 — though it'd be four times that amount if they self-consumed it, Panaitescu suggested.
Initial calculations from a wind mapping study of a handful of Boston high-rises suggests that 10 of the company's 50-kW Sky Farm turbines could offset 10 percent of the energy consumed by a typical 500,000 sq. ft high-rise. That could eliminate the need for a diesel generator, or provide more usable energy than a 10,000-sq. ft. solar PV array.
The company sees opportunities beyond high-rises: islands with constant strong winds and unpredictable/inaccessible service, farms and remote industrial sites. There's even potential for decommissioned or active power plant chimneys. The company also is exploring how to fit everything into a 20-foot shipping container for use in remote locations or to establish a microgrid, or in cases of disaster relief.
The company is talks with a couple of prospective pilot customers and hopes to have something up in the field during 2014, either on a high-rise building or up on a pole (EWP has designed its own 54-foot three-section tower). Martha's Vineyard airport itself has applied for a FAA grant for up to three more of the turbines. EWP also is at the point where they're ready to welcome a sizeable manufacturing partner, and most importantly a sizeable investor from the corporate world. The company claims it has been issued six U.S. patents and has applied for more in Europe and Canada.
Having focused initially on its VAWT safety testing, and now with some of those certifications in hand (strain gauge, load testing for blades and connectors, the Siemens drivetrain) the company is turning to performance verification, and over this winter they will be calculating the VAWT's power curve. That curve plus those few safety certifications should be enough to get a pilot project going, said Linda Haar, pointing out that regions and states and even cities vary in what proof of performance they require — New York requires certification, for example, while Boston buildings merely require a stamped engineering plan. Full small-wind certification might provide a broader comparison with other small-wind technologies, but the few offerings for small-wind certifications don't necessarily agree, only a handful have been thusly "certified," and the certifications themselves aren't specifically geared for VAWT designs. NREL has examined VAWTs in the past and they're looking into it more closely now, she pointed out.


Vertical axis wind turbine passes R&D test here

Vertical axis wind turbine passes R&D test here

by Mvtimes.com, November 13, 2013




Eastern Wind Power (EWP), a Cambridge-based green energy design and development company, announced Wednesday it is ready to move to production and marketing of a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), in partnership with Siemens Industry.

Jonathan Haar, EWP president and CEO, and his wife Linda Mogelli Haar, vice president and chairman, along with representatives from their design team and Siemens Industry, held a press conference for six reporters Wednesday at the Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven.
EWP developed the Sky Farm™ 50 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine with the strength and stability to withstand accelerated winds on high-rise buildings, and with the versatility and mobility to be pole-mounted in open spaces, according to the Haars. EWP's team of Cambridge and Boston based-aeronautical, mechanical, electronic and structural engineers designed, built, commissioned and tested a full-scale prototype for durability, and then followed up with a production model. Clear Carbon Components in Rhode Island manufactured both.
EWP erected its full-scale prototype Sky Farm™ 50 kilowatt wind turbine at a test site at Martha's Vineyard Airport (MVA) in August 2010, with the permission of airport manager Sean Flynn.
"The airport kindly gave us a secure facility, which was very important to the project," Mr. Haar said at the press conference. "We worked through all the safety testing and are now working on efficiency.
"We're building a solid, safe workhorse that will last 20 years," he added.
During Tropical Storm Sandy, the wind turbine withstood winds between 65 to 70 miles per hour, Mr. Haar said. It also withstood a wind test up to 110 miles per hour, using a twin engine Saab turbo prop plane at full throttle.
The airport site also proved convenient for the Haars, who divided their time between their homes in Chilmark and Cambridge during the wind turbine's testing and development.
The turbine was fully commissioned with a connection to the grid in September 2011 and has been producing power for the airport ever since. In addition to wind, the airport site exposed the wind turbine to Martha's Vineyard's mix of salt air, rain and snow, which led to changes made in connection components and fittings to stainless steel, and additional waterproofing of the generator in the production model that was completed in September 2012 that replaced the prototype.
A new option
Ms. Haar credited her husband with coming up with the concept for EWP. "We came from the perspective of wanting to see a green energy option for urban populated areas," she said. "We both worked in the field of planning and design and environmental planning in Boston, and we cared very much about where we as a city and other cities were going. But there is no green energy for cities. We need a new option."
After a lot of research on the subject, they decided medium scale VAWTs in the 50- kilowatt range would work best in an urban setting and offer many advantages over a more familiar wind turbine, whose blades turn around a horizontal axis. So did Bo Tao, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, who Ms. Haar calls one of their "secret weapons." Mr. Tao has served as EWP's lead scientist since 2009, and he developed the wind turbine concept and came up with a design.
Among their advantages, VAWTs do not have to adjust to turn into the wind, so they don't have the downtime that larger turbines do. They also do not have gearboxes and the mechanical issues that go along with those, Ms. Haar said.
"We're seeing the marketplace that it's becoming harder and harder to site big turbines, with aesthetics and noise becoming more of an issue," she said. Compared to the bigger horizontal bladed turbines, VAWTs take up less space and they are quieter.
"One of the most important applications is these turbines can be spaced closely together," Ms. Haar said. "You could put 10 to 12 on a high-rise building rooftop and have plenty of room."
The Sky Farm has three 20-foot blades, made of a cross-woven carbon fiber composite and  20 feet in diameter. Although it could be pole-mounted at any height, It was initially designed with a 54-foot pole, which brings the total height of the turbine and pole together at just under 80 feet. The pole is made in three segments, so it will easily fit into a 20-foot standard shipping container or a freight elevator. The Sky Farm's weight, including all of its components, is about 4,000 pounds.
EWP also has designed a mobile unit, described as a "turbine in a box," for use in disaster relief, remote locations in developing countries with no energy infrastructure, areas where a micro-grid can be established, and military bases or sites where it would be dangerous and expensive to transport fuel.
Find a partner
Ms. Haar said one of the most frequent questions she is asked is how EWP and Siemens became partners, which Siemens director of new technologies Razvan Panati explained.
He said although Siemens is not in the business of producing small wind turbines, the company decided to get into the industry because it has the equipment available for such applications.
Mr. Panati and other Siemens representatives met the Haars and liked their presentation and business plan, as well as their innovative ideas, including the wind turbine's mechanical setup.
"We thought it was a fantastic opportunity for us to really distinguish ourselves from classic horizontal blade type wind turbines, that are probably not suited for the small type applications, such as targeting buildings and areas which are populated," Mr. Panati said. "So we thought, this is it, we should start trying to integrate our technologies together. We are here today telling you this is a success."
Siemens offered EWP the complete drive train, which includes a generator and smart inverter, that captures power at any wind speed without a gearbox, he explained. The generator utilizes a specialized torque motor technology that allows very low-speed rotating mechanical systems to produce power at lower speeds.
Mr. Panati said Siemens also recently added a remote access feature that enables the inverter to be controlled electronically from any point in the world.
"Hopefully this will open up new small wind markets for Siemens, and it offers new smart technology we can market around the world," Ms. Haar said. Currently there is no other 50 kW VAWT on the U.S. market.
Up until now, Ms. Haar said she and her husband have funded the project with the help of Mr. Haar's mother, who made a generous investment in EWP. Many people also have donated their services to the company pro bono.
Ms. Haar said they are looking for a partner as they move towards production. Pricing for the turbine will be determined once the permanent molds are made for the turbine components, which will reduce the initial cost by about two thirds.
"Our objective is to get the cost per kilowatt to be competitive," she said.
A trip to the airport to see the Sky Farm in operation followed the press conference.

Prototype Turbine Picks Up Speed

Prototype Turbine Picks Up Speed

by Marthas's Vineyard News, November 14, 2013



It started with a desire to influence change in the world of green energy, particularly in urban areas. On Wednesday, in the cold quiet of a November Martha’s Vineyard morning, Jeffrey and Linda Haar proved they’re well on their way to accomplishing that goal.

In 2010 the Chilmark residents, who have backgrounds in urban planning, design and large scale construction, turned their attention to the growing field of wind power. It seemed to make much more sense to generate the power as close as possible to where the power is used, they said. But doing so had certain obstacles. Most large-scale turbines can only be situated in large open areas; urban landscapes posed a problem.

“Maybe we need to design a turbine that can be used in populated areas, or something that is transportable,” said Mrs. Haar this week. “So we started with the premise that it should be commercial scale and easily accessible.”

Enter their vertical axis wind turbine at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

Over the past three years the couple, via their company Eastern Wind Power and their partner Siemens Industry, have tested and tinkered with the prototype turbine. The 50-kilowatt turbine has withstood hurricane force winds, the blast of a jet engine and the corrosion of salty air. Since 2011 it has been hooked up to the grid and generating power for the airport.

Now, says Mrs. Haar, they’re looking for a large-scale manufacturer to put the turbine in full-scale production. On Wednesday she and her husband invited technical journals to a press unveiling.

Mrs. Haar said she credits airport manager Sean Flynn and the Vineyard community for allowing Eastern Wind Power the space to stage their experiment.

“The Vineyard has people like us. If it’s a great idea they want to help make it happen. That doesn’t happen everywhere. It was just a great opportunity to work on it in a windy, secure space.”

Going forward, she says, Eastern Wind Power’s turbines can be placed on rooftops or pole-mounted and temporarily installed in remote areas where, say, a natural disaster has occurred. They may also be used in areas where the size, noise and potential for flickering of larger turbines make them unacceptable by community standards.

“We wanted to provide an alternative so you didn’t need to provide just [a traditional turbine] or dismiss green energy altogether,” said Mrs. Haar.

“This is a local project that has really gone far enough that hopefully it will be successful out there,” she said.

– See more at: http://mvgazette.com/news/2013/11/14/prototype-turbine-picks-speed?k=vg52962d8f07589#sthash.zD3bpexq.dpuf

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