Research Papers

Alternative Method of Wind Measurement via Interpreting Dynamic Behaviors of a Helium Balloon

[+] Author and Article Information
Nataporn Korprasertsak

School of Manufacturing Systems
and Mechanical Engineering,
Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology,
Thammasat University,
P.O. Box 22, Thammasat Rangsit Post Office,
Pathum Thani 12121, Thailand
e-mail: nataporn.korp@gmail.com

Thananchai Leephakpreeda

School of Manufacturing Systems
and Mechanical Engineering,
Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology,
Thammasat University, P.O. Box 22,
Thammasat Rangsit Post Office,
Pathum Thani 12121, Thailand
e-mail: thanan@siit.tu.ac.th

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received May 20, 2014; final manuscript received August 18, 2014; published online September 3, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Yves Gagnon.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 137(1), 011014 (Sep 03, 2014) (9 pages) Paper No: SOL-14-1151; doi: 10.1115/1.4028368 History: Received May 20, 2014; Revised August 18, 2014

Wind measurement is crucial for wind energy assessment and development of wind farms. For conventional measurement, wind sensors are implemented on a wind mast at desired heights. This approach causes substantial costs of construction, time, and maintenance. The paper presents a simple low-cost method of wind measurement via interpreting dynamic behaviors of a helium balloon. A helium balloon is installed at the desired height where it is pulled by a cord of corresponding length. The end of the cord is tied to a specially designed holding mechanism of a rotating arm, which always leads to direction of wind. For wind speed, aerodynamic performance of the helium balloon is numerically investigated by mathematical models. It is found that drag force due to wind through the helium balloon dynamically balances forces of buoyancy, gravity, and tension. Therefore, wind speed at the balloon height can be determined from motion equations and drag equation since variables of the helium balloon are measured such as the swing angle away from vertical line and cord tension. By applying the wind profile power law, the wind speed data at the balloon height can be further adjusted to the values at the desired height. Experiments in a field study are readily performed to show great viability of the proposed methodology.

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Fig. 1

Wind data at a height of 60 m: (a) speed and (b) direction

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Fig. 2

Installation of helium balloon for wind measurement

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Fig. 3

Experimental setup of wind measurement system using helium balloon near wind mast

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Fig. 4

Diagram of data acquisition system for balloon measurements

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Fig. 5

Motion analysis of helium balloon

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Fig. 6

Free body diagram of helium balloon in atmosphere

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Fig. 7

Trajectory of helium balloon with wind

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Fig. 8

Determination of wind direction and wind magnitude

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Fig. 9

Motions of helium balloon at constant wind speed: (a) 2 m/s, (b) 4 m/s, (c) 6 m/s, and (d) 8 m/s

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Fig. 10

Simulated results under real wind blow: (a) actual wind speed, (b) height of helium balloon, and (c) swing angle

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Fig. 11

Plots of simulated results and measured data of wind speed against time at height of 60 m

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Fig. 12

Determination of ground friction coefficient α

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Fig. 13

Plots of experimental results reported in 1 day: (a) wind speed against time and (b) wind rose diagram of wind direction

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Fig. 14

Linear regression analysis of two wind measurement systems: (a) speed and (b) direction



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