Construction and Performance Testing of an Electricity Producing Wind Turbine

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Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Physics


Adam Whitten, Physics


A growing interest in renewable energy coupled with a heightened cognizance of personal energy consumption has led to an increasingly popular trend of private energy production. Small sized wind turbines are one of the most common methods of off-grid power production. This research provides insight into the viability and efficiency of using small wind turbines to generate power. A horizontal axis wind turbine with three blades was constructed to charge a 12-Volt battery. The turbine stood 9.2-feet (2.8-meters) and had a rotor diameter of 25.45-inches (0.65-meters). A permanent magnet DC motor was used as the generator. The average power output for wind speeds in the interval 0 m·s -1 to 8 m·s -1 were plotted and fit to a 4th degree polynomial to create a power curve characterizing the turbine’s performance. Overall, the average power output of the turbine was 6.1 ± 0.5-Watts (W). The average fractional efficiency of the turbine was 0.158 ± 0.024. Future research includes long-term data collection and further performance analysis by determining the power coefficient and tip speed ratio of the wind turbine.