Research Papers

Design and Characterization of a Trailer-Based Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbine Test Rig

[+] Author and Article Information
Iman Khorsand

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems,
University of Victoria,
Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
e-mail: khorsand@uvic.ca

Cameron Dallas

Department of Mechanical and Industrial
University of Toronto,
Toronto, ON M5S 3G8, Canada
e-mail: cdallas@mie.utoronto.ca

Alan Magni

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Victoria,
Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
e-mail: magnialan@gmail.com

Curran Crawford

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Victoria,
Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
e-mail: curranc@uvic.ca

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received February 20, 2017; final manuscript received March 7, 2018; published online April 9, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Yves Gagnon.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 140(4), 041007 (Apr 09, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-17-1067; doi: 10.1115/1.4039655 History: Received February 20, 2017; Revised March 07, 2018

This paper presents a mobile testing rig developed for small wind turbine (SWT) experimental work to orchestrate, cost-effectively, turbine performance characterization in both controlled wind inflow speeds and turbulent ambient flows. It facilitates off-grid testing of up to a 1 kW wind turbine. It is a dual-purpose machine that can be towed behind a vehicle to conduct steady-state tests (track testing) or be parked to collect unsteady field data (field testing), all with the same rotor and instrumentation. Its mechanical design included computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to gauge the potential impact of towing vehicle disturbance on the free stream available to the rotor. To provide a compelling platform for full rotor speed control, a reconfigurable control system coupled to an electric vehicle controller with regenerative braking technology has been modeled and implemented into its electrical design. Uncertainty analysis has also been rigorously conducted to project the error bounds pertaining to both precision and bias components of the testing results. The rig has been tested in a towed scenario and blade element momentum (BEM) simulations have been compared with the actual aggregate performance curves obtained experimentally. Future work involves testing in unsteady winds, for which the rig was ultimately designed in order to better understand unsteady rotor performance and adaptive design.

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Fig. 1

SWT test rig towed behind van

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Fig. 2

Turbine rotor and anemometers

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Fig. 3

Towing vehicle velocity contour

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Fig. 4

SWT top assembly design

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Fig. 5

Example raw data collected during a single trial: (a) wind speed, (b) torque, (c) rotor speed, and (d) thrust

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Fig. 6

Throttle and regenerative braking during a single trial

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Fig. 7

Raw experimental mechanical power data

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Fig. 8

Theoretical and experimental turbine performance curves for first set of experiments

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Fig. 9

Theoretical and experimental turbine performance curves for both sets of tests




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