Table of Contents
ISRN Mechanical Engineering
Volume 2011, Article ID 828739, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/828739
Research Article

Performance of a Contrarotating Small Wind Energy Converter

1School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
3TRIAS Innovations Group, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1L 8K4

Received 25 January 2011; Accepted 21 March 2011

Academic Editors: D. Aggelis and M. Yürüsoy

Copyright © 2011 Riadh W. Y. Habash et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Responding to more demand in coming years, the task of the small wind energy industry requires progress on several fronts—the public policy initiatives, technology development, and market growth. One important issue of the wind energy utilization is the conversion efficiency of the usable energy into productive power. Enhanced technologies such as contrarotating blades, gearbox and lubrication, airfoils, generators, and power electronics will lower cost and increase energy production. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to reinforce the effectiveness of employing contrarotating system to enhance the performance of a small wind energy converter (SWEC). With this concept, the SWEC works more efficiently and therefore produces more energy in a unit turbine area. To verify the SWEC performance, a research model has been built and tested over a range of operating conditions. Wind tunnel tests were carried out to ascertain the overall performance of the contrarotating SWEC. Results are presented for cases of different wind speeds and Reynolds number. The results demonstrated a significant increase in wind energy conversion efficiency and capability of operation at lower wind speeds while keeping up performance compared to a single-rotor system of the same type.