Oscillatory Wind Energy Converter

Designed and built a new, small-scale wind energy converter prototype that uses the concept of oscillating motion to harvest power from the flow of air.

Type
Academic
Timeframe
Aug 2021
 - 
May 2022
Status
Complete

Overview

While completing my bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at Clarkson University, I led a team of students to develop a new prototype for a wind energy converter for an undergraduate research project. The concept was based on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse of 1940, where high cross-winds caused the H-section of the bridge to begin oscillating, eventually tearing the bridge apart. The idea behind this project was to capture that wind energy in a controllable way.

Goals

  • Lead a team of students to design and build a small-scale, inexpensive wind energy converter prototype based on oscillatory motion and previous research
  • Perform wind tunnel testing at varying wind speeds, device torques, and pendulum weights
  • Increase device power generation efficiency from preceding prototypes
  • Improve accuracy of data measurements using Python
  • Determine device efficiency compared to wind turbines
Oscillatory wind energy converter prototype in the Clarkson University Eiffel-type Open Circuit Wind Tunnel.
Oscillatory wind energy converter prototype in the Clarkson University Eiffel-type Open Circuit Wind Tunnel.

How Was It Made?

Exploded CAD render of the Oscillatory Wind Energy Converter with labeled parts.
Exploded CAD render of the Oscillatory Wind Energy Converter with labeled parts.
  • Created detailed CAD models and technical drawings using SolidWorks
  • Employed rapid prototyping using additive manufacturing, off-the-shelf components, and machined parts
  • Produced effective and efficient test procedures to measure power generation
  • Executed test procedures safely using a large Eiffel type open-circuit wind tunnel at speeds up to 14 m/s (30 MPH)
  • Developed a Python CLI script to automatically process slow-motion videos and calculate power output using a fiducial marker on the device and output to tabulated data

Results

Oscillatory Wind Energy Converter Animated GIF showing operation in the Clarkson University Wind Tunnel.
Oscillatory Wind Energy Converter Animated GIF showing operation in the Clarkson University Wind Tunnel.
  • Increased overall device efficiency from 0.1% to 2%+ (1,000% increase)
  • Improved measurement accuracy using high-quality video frames and a fiducial tag in place of human measurement techniques
  • Presented findings to faculty and students through technical research reports and a Research and Project Showcase (RAPS) presentation

As of Summer 2022, I continue to work with my advising Professor to refine our research paper in hopes to have it published.

Technical Report