New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
For folks who want to build their own off-grid wind turbine in 2013, I have a new direct-drive machine that is designed from the ground up to work with a MidNite Classic 150 MPPT controller. The details of how to build it, and the specs for it, are on the new off-grid projects page that I put on my website

http://dairylandwindpower.us/projects/

This new turbine has been flying on one of my towers since early December. With a 3.2 meter rotor on it it produces 150 watts @ 10 mph, 250 watts @ 12 mph, 480 watts @ 15 mph, 1,080 watts @ 20 mph, and 2,000 watts at 25 mph. It will peak around 2.5 kW on a 24V system and 3 kW on a 48V system.

On my 48V system I have the Classic set to engage the voltage clipper at 145 volts input to the controller and have seen the machine producing 3,100 watts and 52.6 amps to the battery @ 144 volts controller input. It's best daily energy production so far was Dec 20 when it produced 26.4 kWh in a 24 hr period.

It will also work on a 12V system, however, its peak output is de-rated to 1.2 kW to the battery because the Classic 150 can only put out around 90 amps continuous. So the voltage clipper on a 12V system will get a serious workout at wind speeds much over 20 mph.
--
Chris

Comments

  • ws9876ws9876 Solar Expert Posts: 404 ✭✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    good looking rig I would like a version just a little smaller...thats a lot of power
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    Thanks. I haven't really built anything smaller than 3.2 meters for quite a few years. The design could be scaled down, but there's some critical parameters related to furling that would have to be re-designed. The 3.2 meter size can be built for around $1,000 in materials, and the controller is about $650 from NAWS. Then all you need is a tower.
    --
    Chris
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Thanks. I haven't really built anything smaller than 3.2 meters for quite a few years. The design could be scaled down, but there's some critical parameters related to furling that would have to be re-designed. The 3.2 meter size can be built for around $1,000 in materials, and the controller is about $650 from NAWS. Then all you need is a tower.
    --
    Chris

    And, as long as you are going to make the investment for a tall enough tower, how much more will it cost to mount a larger turbine?
    Does the weight and swept area of the turbine make a big difference in the weight and cost of the tower? I can see that being possible with a tilt-down tower, but if you go with a climbable tower, how much additional turbine mass does it take to require the "next size up" tower?
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    I generally recommend a minimum 60 foot tower if you can clear trees and other obstacles within 400 yards of the turbine at that height. 70 is better than 60, 80 is better than 70 or 60, and 90 is better yet. Beyond that there's so many variables in towers that it all depends on what you use. A lot of folks will put up a guyed pipe tower, made out of 8". Those are cheap but they take up a lot of room and you got guy wires strung all over tarnation because it has be guyed at each joint on the tower, plus 6' below the top. You can buy used Rohn SSV's if you want a free-stander. And Rohn 65G's work, which can also be found used, but they are a guyed tower also.

    The size and weight of the turbine makes a huge difference. My machines will produce 479 lbs of side load at the top of the tower running furled at full rated output in 90 mph wind with a 3.5 meter rotor. The 3.2 meter will at 422 lbs. The actual rotor thrust is less than 200 lbs, the rest is pure drag coefficient and loading caused by frontal area and the tail, which increases as wind speed increases. So the tower has to be able to handle that amount of load, which is not really excessive considering that a Rohn SSV will handle turbines the size of a 31 foot Jacobs.

    I do not recommend using a non-tilting tower because it will require a crane to put the turbine on it. The machine is more than two men can lift fully assembled and it's no fun trying to wire it up hanging off the side of a tower 90 feet off the ground. Most all towers can be modified for tilting with a gin, pulled up with a four wheel drive pickup or a winch hooked to a deadman, and it's really the best way to do it. It's a lot more fun getting the turbine on the stub, assembling the rotor and wiring it up, and lowering it annually to clean and wax the blades and grease it, when you're standing on the ground where you can easily go sit in the shade and drink a beer to think about it on a hot day.
    inetdog wrote: »
    And, as long as you are going to make the investment for a tall enough tower, how much more will it cost to mount a larger turbine?

    The 3.5 meter rotor on this machine will make about 60 watts more power at 15 mph and about 400 more watts at the top end. If you live in a an area where the turbine will experience a lot of turbulence due to trees or other obstructions, or put it on a short tower, then you'll want to put a 3.5 meter rotor on it. Otherwise the 3.2 meter rotor is going to be fine if the turbine in clean wind.

    Our high average wind speed here today was 15.1 mph in mid-day, and the average since midnight was 8.6 mph as I write this. The machine has produced 3.7 kWh here today, so far, with a 3.2 meter rotor on it. On a windy day when the wind blows at 20 mph all day it'll make 20+ kWh. The reason I like using these machines is because they deliver power 24 hours a day in the winter. Even on still nights when there's no wind on the ground the things are running at 90 feet and producing from zero to 35 or 40 watts all night. If the next day dawns and we don't get any sun (like what happened today), but the wind picks up in the mid-morning to afternoon hours, the turbines will hold the bank at 70-80% by the end of the day and it's optional as to whether or not I want to manually start the generator and finish charging up the bank. I usually don't. At supper time my wife will turn the range on to cook something and that will cause the generator to start for Load Amps and run until she turns the range off. But the wind turbines help prevent having the run the generator for battery charging, which is the most inefficient use of a generator. That's what I like about them for off-grid power.

    So to answer your question, if you're big power users like we are, put up more than one. For about 90% of most off-grid folks I know that tend to use more propane for things and the RE power is used mainly for lighting and light loads, one turbine does the job. It gets you thru that "lean time" until you get a decent sun day to catch up the bank again so you don't have to bring the generator out of retirement.
    --
    Chris
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    Below is the tabular data for this wind turbine since the first of the year. This was really hard to put into forum syntax from a CSV file exported from the Classic and my weather station. I hope it turns out. I could not figure out how to get the data columns to align right.


    Day
    kWh
    High Power (kW)
    High Power (W)
    Input Voltage (V)
    Wind 24hr ave
    Wind high 10min ave
    Wind Peak


    12
    12.1
    2.986
    2986
    148.4
    14.0
    24.3
    40.4


    11
    3.6
    0.820
    820
    92.2
    6.5
    10.8
    19.4


    10
    7.8
    2.388
    2388
    143.5
    5.4
    12.2
    21.2


    9
    8.6
    1.833
    1833
    139.3
    8.5
    18.0
    33.7


    8
    3.6
    1.314
    1314
    126.2
    3.6
    15.7
    25.6


    7
    1.0
    0.614
    614
    99.6
    8.5
    15.1
    21.9


    6
    1.2
    0.301
    301
    77.4
    7.0
    11.7
    16.7


    5
    1.0
    0.710
    710
    103.0
    3.4
    8.5
    13.8


    4
    2.8
    0.907
    907
    112.2
    5.4
    11.3
    17.0


    3
    2.4
    0.308
    308
    79.2
    6.6
    11.5
    18.7


    2
    2.4
    0.478
    478
    86.9
    5.0
    8.8
    13.8


    1
    3.6
    1.561
    1561
    133.9
    3.5
    9.3
    16.0


    All of our weather data is uploaded by my weather station to Weather Underground and is archived. There is a graph for each day, if you scroll down, that shows the hours when the wind blew and when it didn't. The data for today (Jan 12) was current as of 6:00 PM.
    http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KWIBARRO3
    --
    Chris
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    Thanks for posting this Chris, very useful to see real world results. What unit is the wind speed given in?
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    It is mph, which is what is used in the US for all weather reporting.

    We went thru about a week of very stable weather with little wind and some sunshine almost every day after the first of the year. In the last week now the weather has been changing with little sun and more wind. The turbine has not stopped running since the 6th of January as I write this, though it has dropped below cut-in wind speed a few times.
    --
    Chris
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    Chris, as a comparison, how has the larger turbine done Watt wise vs the 3.2Kw?
     
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  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    This turbine is a little more electrically efficient than the geared ones with the 3.5 meter rotors simply because it was designed to operate near the Classic's voltage limit while the geared ones run at 100-120 volts. With the 3.2 meter rotor it falls about 3% short of what the bigger machines produce for kWh on a daily basis.

    I was going to put a 3.5 meter rotor on it when I put it up but didn't have one ready to go. I had a 3.2 meter rotor leaning against the shop wall, all assembled and balanced. So that's what went on it.
    --
    Chris
  • soggydogsoggydog Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    For folks who want to build their own off-grid wind turbine in 2013, I have a new direct-drive machine that is designed from the ground up to work with a MidNite Classic 150 MPPT controller. The details of how to build it, and the specs for it, are on the new off-grid projects page that I put on my website

    http://dairylandwindpower.us/projects/

    This new turbine has been flying on one of my towers since early December. With a 3.2 meter rotor on it it produces 150 watts @ 10 mph, 250 watts @ 12 mph, 480 watts @ 15 mph, 1,080 watts @ 20 mph, and 2,000 watts at 25 mph. It will peak around 2.5 kW on a 24V system and 3 kW on a 48V system.

    On my 48V system I have the Classic set to engage the voltage clipper at 145 volts input to the controller and have seen the machine producing 3,100 watts and 52.6 amps to the battery @ 144 volts controller input. It's best daily energy production so far was Dec 20 when it produced 26.4 kWh in a 24 hr period.

    It will also work on a 12V system, however, its peak output is de-rated to 1.2 kW to the battery because the Classic 150 can only put out around 90 amps continuous. So the voltage clipper on a 12V system will get a serious workout at wind speeds much over 20 mph.
    --
    Chris

    Nice, Looks like a production model. Wish I had your eye for detail.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    Thanks. I don't know about the eye for detail. Just that experience has shown me how to build a turbine that don't break. Wind turbines are severe duty machines and if you don't pay attention to the details Mother Nature will break it for you ;)
    --
    Chris
  • DillDill Solar Expert Posts: 170 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    I bet your churning out some big power with these crazy winds we're seeing right now Chris!
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    Yeah, around 6:00 or so the wind was sustained over 35 mph for quite awhile and I snapped a photo of the direct drive running right up against the stops

    Attachment not found.

    That's what my wife calls "the blades are indivisible". She's Swedish and that's the way she pronounces it. LOL!
    --
    Chris
  • PorkChopsMmmPorkChopsMmm Solar Expert Posts: 189 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    I generally recommend a minimum 60 foot tower if you can clear trees and other obstacles within 400 yards of the turbine at that height. 70 is better than 60, 80 is better than 70 or 60, and 90 is better yet. Beyond that there's so many variables in towers that it all depends on what you use. A lot of folks will put up a guyed pipe tower, made out of 8". Those are cheap but they take up a lot of room and you got guy wires strung all over tarnation because it has be guyed at each joint on the tower, plus 6' below the top. You can buy used Rohn SSV's if you want a free-stander. And Rohn 65G's work, which can also be found used, but they are a guyed tower also.
    Chris

    Chris, this is great info. My hold up with wind power has always been how and were to put a tower. I did a cursory look for the Rohn SSV towers and the ycan range anywhere from $900 in a different state and require dis-assembly to $10,000+ for new kits. What do you feel is the cheapest self supporting tower that can handle a turbine that can go up to '80 feet or so? Is it the Rohn? Know of a good source for such a tower that is used and cheaper?

    Thanks!
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: New Off-Grid Wind Turbine

    Definitely the Rohn SSV is the best. They are almost the defacto standard for self-supporting cell towers these days and they're not that hard to find used. The nice thing about the SSV is that they're all bolted construction so you don't need a semi to haul one when you find it. Just a 20 foot trailer will work fine to haul one.

    It seems ham radio guys always know where there's a "spare" 55 or 65G or SSV tower that needs to be taken down or disassembled if you want it for cheap.
    --
    Chris
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