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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Foaad Tahir

Design of a Wind Turbine with Energy Storage for Domestic Use

Energy continues to play an important role in our lives and in economy of the world. We require input of energy at every stage from cradle to grave of various products and processes. However our sources of energy, primarily fossil fuels, and their rate of use are unsustainable. In such a scenario renewable sources of energy, particularly wind energy, presents with a sustainable solution. This thesis explores the design optimisation of micro wind turbines for domestic use. The purpose is to improve the capacity factor and make the turbine systems simpler, thereby improving the energy yields and reducing the costs. This optimisation is done by synchronisation of mechanical and electrical systems. This is achieved by using multi speed gearbox and turbine loading mechanisms to ensure synchronous operation of the generator. This eliminates the need for fully rated power converters, which act as an electronic interface between the generator and the grid. The use of blade is optimised by replacing its inner 30% with linkages to the hub, which also results in better structural strength. An energy storage system is also included with the wind turbines. This serves to not only smooth out the supply of energy in off grid systems, but also acts as a backup. This is essential in areas where grid connectivity is not available. It is also useful if the grid is not strong and power outages are frequent due to gap between supply and demand of electricity generation. Finally a case study is also performed using wind data from HawksBay, Karachi. The wind turbine is designed with a special focus on local wind conditions, as these have a significant effect upon the capacity factor. Thus by designing for a high capacity factor, maximum utilisation of electric generator and power systems is achieved, thereby ensuring good return on investment.