On March 26th & 27th, the Virginia Tech Wind Turbine Team (VT WTT) tested their prototype wind turbine in the Stability Wind Tunnel. The VT WTT is a team of 40 engineering undergraduate students who design, build, and test small-scale wind turbines. The team hopes to take part in the 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition, hosted by the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at AWEA Windpower (May 2018, Chicago, IL).
For the test, the team made a 1-m rotor diameter prototype turbine. The blades were cut from a section of PVC pipe, and a direct-drive system transferred the rotational energy of the blades to a permanent magnet generator. The turbine cut-in at 9 m/s, but sustained energy production at wind speeds as low as 6 m/s.
The team is using the experience and information gained from the wind tunnel test to finish the design of a portable, 2-m rotor diameter turbine. The team will finish construction of the turbine by April 25th, and plans to test the wind turbine at the Kentland Experimental Aerial Systems Laboratory in late April and early May.
Videos from the test are posted on the VT WTT YouTube channel.
Students installing the prototype wind turbine in the Virginia Tech Stability Wind Tunnel
The Virginia Tech Wind Turbine Team Prototype Wind Turbine Installed in the Virginia Tech Stability Wind Tunnel