Wind Power Generators
It is estimated that small scale wind generation could support 25% to 45% of the residential power requirements in the USA and Canada. Residents typically use between 3KW to 5KW of power per month, thus a wind generator would need to support the single phase requirement of 5KW/month. These same wind power generators can be scaled up to support small businesses operating with 3 phase power outputs up to 10MW (10,000 KW). Large wind farms presently provide power to grids in Nebraska, California, Colorado, as well as a number of locations around the country. However, residential power requirements need to be much more simple to install, supporting a single residence at a reasonable price to install.
Residential wind power turbines (generators) need nice looks and quiet operation from a wind generator. With crude oil prices constantly moving up and down, driven by greedy oil speculators around the world, driven by oil companies and oil producers alike, we need to move in a smart way to Wind Power and Solar Power around the world. It is projected that the cost of small scale wind will be competitive with fossil fuels by as early as 2010. As we reduce power generation from oil, we reduce oil dependency from oil cartels; we reduce carbon emissions; we minimize financial effects caused by oil speculators; and we create high tech jobs, lowered CO2 emissions, while achieving a cleaner world. But we can not just switch overnight, as some green people demand. It has to be done in a thoughtful, methodical manner.
Traditional windmills are more complex and often use tail booms to provide guidance into the wind, but make the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines or HAWT less effective at capturing wind power.
The location of any wind turbine is crucial to the electrical output expected from it. Ideally, a wind turbine would have no obstructions between it and the prevailing wind direction, which varies across the USA and Canada and around the world. In an urban environment, some wind turbulence is inevitable unless the turbine is sited well above any surrounding buildings. This has to be balanced with local building code ordinances. Most of the time, turbulence from surrounding buildings will affect a wind turbine to some extent. This is the primary reason for opting for a vertical axis, wind turbine, VAWT, as vertical wind generator designs do not need to be aimed into the wind whenever the wind direction changes to continue producing power. Conversely, a horizontal axis wind turbine, HAWT, has to physically rotate into the wind direction every time the wind direction changes, wasting valuable resources and adding unnecessary weight, maintenance and cost to a wind generator.
A properly designed VAWT produces 20% - 40% more energy than a conventional similar sized HAWT wind power generator, given the same velocity of wind over a set time period. A properly designed VAWT is always 100% into the wind, as a VAWT power generator does not require a fin to keep it guided into the wind, as all HAWT generators require. Reasons for wind turbines being objected to by residents, builders and county commissioners include its visual impact, noise and vibration of a typical HAWT wind generator. However, a properly designed VAWT wind power generator operates quietly and can be designed in an artistic manner, thus the resident owner, builder and building commissioners are much more likely to request a VAWT wind power generator installed on a residential home or small business.
One of the more artistic, unique and highly effective vertical axis wind turbines, VAWT, is the Mariah Windspire®, which includes four simple sections, although many systems are limited to just a rotor and generator. The Windspire operates with a vertical wind turbine set apart from all other wind turbines. It was engineered as a complete system, rather than a collection of different manufactured parts. It includes a rotor that operates at any wind direction, a generator built into the turbine, an integrated power inverter, turbine pole assembly, and a wireless monitoring system. The advantage of the Windspire is that it was designed from the ground to optimize each section to provide strength and maximum system efficiency at the lowest cost per kilowatt hour. The Windspire does not have a tail boom, which causes lateral stress across the tops of most turbines.
The Windspire® rotor uses a highly efficient giromill design with a large sweep area for maximum wind energy capture. It is unique and artistic with a tall, narrow profile that appeals to the eye and more importantly, operates efficiently and instantly in changing wind directions. The rotor is designed with several airfoil sections to reduce strain and to transfer wind-induced stresses to the high strength center shaft. The rotor design came from extensive aerodynamic computer modeling to maximize conversion of wind power to electrical power. This was accomplished by the world’s premier expert in Darrieus rotor designs, while another mechanical expert completed dynamic vibration modeling to minimize structural vibration caused by wind harmonics.
The Windspire’s unique and artistic generator was developed by our own team, and served as a catalyst for the whole system. After working on a highly efficient air core permanent magnet generator technology for several years, Mariah Power was founded in 2005 with the integration of the generator into a wind turbine. The generator technology is unique in several ways: First, it minimizes magnetic-induced losses by using a special rotor and stator construction, resulting in very high efficiencies (up to 98%). Second, it is cog-free, for seamless rotation. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it operates most efficiently in low wind speeds. This is the opposite of most wind generators, and it allows the Windspire to capture more energy in the lower, more prevalent range of wind speeds.
The computer controlled inverter is designed exclusively for the Windspire and is integrated directly into the turbine. It uses a peak power tracking, software algorithm to control the rotor speed and maximize energy production over a wide range of wind speeds. The inverter protects the Windspire by applying brakes to turbine rotation when high wind speeds are detected. The inverter includes a built-in wireless ZigBee modem that transmits power generation information directly to your computer. Winspire’s proprietary WindSync™ Software is used to monitor your Windspire energy performance from your home or office. The Windspire electrical power inverter is UL 1741 and IEEE 1547 tested and certified.
The Mariah Windspire wind turbine uses its own structurally sound, engineered pole, designed to support the vertical Windspire turbine in a wide range of wind speeds. The pole provides an oversized ball bearing system, with “greased-for-life”, mechanical bearings to provide maintenance-free operation. Even the pole design provides structural vibration damping for smooth operation. Made with high strength steel and hinged at the base, raising a Windspire is quick and easy with a typical installation completed in as few as three hours. No heavy equipment is required for installation making a home or office installation very beneficial.
|Simple Install, Home or Business||Windspire, Business|
|Field Testing in Harsh Environments||Windspire, Home|
Mariah Power is a wind technology company focused on continually advancing our wind turbine technology. The Windspire team of electrical and mechanical engineers are focused on improving design quality and power conversion performance of the Windspire. More than 100 Windspires have been involved in various field test programs in diverse locations across the United States. Through this program, Windspire was able to identify where to improve the turbine design under a wide variety of dry and wet climates, cold and hot climates, and the result is a highly reliable wind turbine operating with essentially no maintenance under most wind situations found in the USA, Canada and South America. Mariah has updated field units with new technology as solutions became available through Mariah Power dealers. The following is a list of the major technology improvements made to Mariah Windspire wind turbines:
To improve longevity and address modal disturbances of the Windspire, Mariah Power eliminated fretting and corrosion issues:
- More rigid, straight vertical shafts were designed, adding thickness to the base plate;
- Developed a new clamp method to eliminate fretting of the vertical pole;
- Upgraded exterior finish to increase protection from weather and corrosion;
- Added protective plating with the highest sea salt spray resistance to exposed steel components.
To increase electrical reliability, power output and safety, Mariah Power continually looks for improvements to the inverter design:
- Revised the electrical transformer to lower the operating temperature during power conversion
- Added thermal heat sensing to maximize wattage (power) output
- Improved hardware and firmware controls to provide better management of the power output versus the wind speed.
Mariah Power rotor improvements of the Windspire to increase quality and eliminate slippage of the airfoils:
- Developed new air foils to increase wind conversion efficiency;
- Improved welding joints;
- Upgraded class of rings and fastening components;
- Redesigned and improved the airfoil clamping system for stronger mechanical support.
Partnering with MasTech Manufacturing, Mariah Power has improved manufacturing quality to consistently meet specifications, which is a critical requirement in high volume manufacturing requirements:
- Use castings for wrought multi-piece components;
- AWS certified welders are used to provide very high quality components;
- ASQ certified quality engineer manages the quality process;
- Plug and ring gauges are used during functional tests and quality inspections.