By means of small wind turbines, it is possible to create distributed sources of electricity useful in areas with good wind conditions. Sometimes, however, it is possible to use small wind turbines also in areas characterized by lower average wind speeds during the year. At the small wind turbine design stage, various types of technical solutions to increase the speed of the wind stream, as well as to optimally orientate it, can be applied. The methods for increasing the efficiency of wind energy conversion into electricity in the case of a wind turbine include: the use of a diffuser shielding the turbine rotor and the optimization of blades mounted on the turbine rotor. In the paper, the influence of the diffuser and rotor blades geometry on the efficiency of an exemplary wind turbine for exploitation in the West Pomeranian Province is investigated. The analyses are performed for three types of the diffuser and for three types of rotor blades. Based on them, the most optimal shapes of the diffuser and blades are selected due to the efficiency of the wind turbine. For the turbine with the designed diffuser, calculations of the output power for the assumed different values of the average annual wind speed and the constant Betz power factor and the specified generator efficiency are made. In all the analyzed cases, the amount of energy that can be generated by the turbine during the year is also estimated. Important practical conclusions are formulated on the basis of these calculations. In the final part of the paper, a 3D model of the wind turbine with the diffuser and rotor blades chosen based on earlier analyses is presented. As a material for the diffuser and rotor blades, glass fiber type A is applied. By means of calculations using the finite element method, the limit displacement of the turbine structure under the influence of a hurricane wind are determined. Based on these calculations, the correctness of the modelled small wind turbine structure has been demonstrated.
A questionnaire inquiry on response to wind turbine noise was carried out on 361 subjects living in the vicinity of 8 wind farms. Current mental health status of respondents was assessed using Goldberg General Health Questionnaire GHQ-12. For areas where respondents lived, A-weighted sound pressure levels (SPLs) were calculated as the sum of the contributions from the wind power plants in the specific area. Generally, 33.0% of respondents were annoyed outdoors by wind turbine noise at the calculated A-weighted SPL of 31-50 dB, while indoors the noise was annoying to 21.3% of them. The proportion of subjects evaluating the noise produced by operative wind turbines as annoying decreased with increasing the distance from the nearest wind turbine (27.6% at the distance of 400-800 m vs 14.3% at the distance above 800 m, p < 0.016). On the other hand, the higher was the noise level, the greater was the percentage of annoyed respondents (14.0% at SPL up to 40 dB vs 28.1% at SPL of 40-45 dB, p < 0.016). Besides noise and distance categories, subjective factors, such as general attitude to wind turbines, sensitivity to landscape littering and current mental health status, were found to have significant impact on the perceived annoyance. About 50% of variance in annoyance rating might be explained by the aforesaid subjective factors.
Annoyance ratings for artificially created noises, resembling the main characteristics of temporal wind turbine noise, were studied by means of a listening experiment involving 21 participants with normal hearing. Three types of stimuli were examined: broadband noise (−4 dB/octave), noise generated by moving cars, and narrowband noise. All stimuli had the sound level fluctuations typical for wind turbine noise. The magnitude of the sound level fluctuations was measured in a quantitative way, by using the characteristics of amplitude modulated sound: modulation rate and modulation depth. Our aim was to examine how the modulation rate and the modulation depth influence the noise annoyance assessment of broadband and narrowband amplitude modulated noises. Three different modulation rates, 1, 2 and 4 Hz, and sound level fluctuations (a measure of the modulation depth), 3, 6, 9 dB, were applied to each type of stimuli (with exception of noise generated by the moving cars) and investigated. The participants in the listening experiment were presented with sound stimuli in laboratory conditions and asked to rate their annoyance on a numerical scale. The results have shown a significant difference between the investigated conditions. The effect was particularly strong between the annoyance judgments of different types of noise (narrow and broadband), and modulated versus unmodulated noises. Temporal fluctuations occurring in wind turbine noise are very pertinent to the perception of annoyance and could be responsible for its being a relatively annoying noise source. The obtained results were discussed and compared to the typical modulation rates and level changes that occur in recordings of real wind turbine noise.
Focus of the vibration expert community shifts more and more towards diagnosing machines subjected to varying rotational speeds and loads. Such machines require order analysis for proper fault detection and identification. In many cases phase markers (tachometers, encoders, etc) are used to help performing the resampling of the vibration signals to remove the speed fluctuations and smearing from the spectrum (order tracking). However, not all machines have the facility to install speed tracking sensors, due to design or cost reasons, and the signal itself has to then be used to extract this information. This paper is focused on the problem of speed tracking in wind turbines, which represent typical situations for speed and load variation. The basic design of a wind turbine is presented. Two main types of speed control i.e. stall and pitch control are presented,. The authors have investigated two methods of speed tracking, using information from the signal (without relying on a speed signal). One method is based on extracting a reference signal to use as a tachometer, while the other is phase-based (phase demodulation). Both methods are presented and applied to the vibration data from real wind turbines. The results are compared with each other and with the actual speed data.
Condition monitoring of machines working under non-stationary operations is one of the most challenging problems in maintenance. A wind turbine is an example of such class of machines. One of effective approaches may be to identify operating conditions and investigate their influence on used diagnostic features. Commonly used methods based on measurement of electric current, rotational speed, power and other process variables require additional equipment (sensors, acquisition cards) and software. It is proposed to use advanced signal processing techniques for instantaneous shaft speed recovery from a vibration signal. It may be used instead of extra channels or in parallel as signal verification.
Small-scale vertical-axis wind turbines can be used as a source of electricity in rural and urban environments. According to the authors’ knowledge, there are no validated simplified aerodynamic models of these wind turbines, therefore the use of more advanced techniques, such as for example the computational methods for fluid dynamics is justified. The paper contains performance analysis of the small-scale vertical-axis wind turbine with a large solidity. The averaged velocity field and the averaged static pressure distribution around the rotor have been also analyzed. All numerical results presented in this paper are obtained using the SST k-ω turbulence model. Computed power coefficients are in good agreement with the experimental results. A small change in the tip speed ratio significantly affects the velocity field. Obtained velocity fields can be further used as a base for simplified aerodynamic methods.