Innovative rotor design of a new airborne wind power system
At a glance
At several hundred meters above ground level, wind currents are stronger and much more consistent than those close to the ground. To harvest strong wind power at that elevation, a buoyant gas aerostat is used to lift up an electrical generator. Denoted by “Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) wind power turbine”, the system hovers in the sky and sends electricity through a cable-tether connection to the earth.
A new LTA wind turbine concept is introduced by Zarawind, Winterthur-based spin-off ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences. The efficiency of this concept comes from the fact that it maintains the airborne system stationary operating at high altitude with an efficient harvesting of the strong wind power. Among many others, this technology is advantageous due to the applicable deployment of the efficient buoyant airborne system in the wide economic areas of the high-altitude strong-winds. This promotes potential exploitation of this technology as an eco-friendly, cost-effective and scalable power source in off-grid zones. In this research project, we characterize the aerodynamics of an innovative blade concept for LTA wind power turbine, we study the influences of the geometry on the performance of the new wind power rotor, we analyze the durability of rotor's materials. The research tasks combine numerical simulations, material tests, model constructions, wind tunnel experiments, and engineering design-analysis works. Obtained results should facilitate evaluation the system efficiency and developing a guideline design of a new prototype.