2017 UPDATE:The 2016 team built a variable pitch turbine that worked beautifully mechanically and aerodynamically, but they ran out of time when developing the electronics controls software. The 2017 team has redesigned the entire turbine, with significant improvements in the following areas:
- Use of a different motor that should lower cut-in wind speed considerably
- Iteration on the pitch mechanism design, resulting in a much smaller mechanism, which allows for reduced hub radius (longer blades), lower inertia, shorter drive train length, and smaller actuator.
- Passive yaw design is incorporated with a tower top bearing and a composite tail
Electronics and controls are based on last year's design, however, the design and fabrication of the electronics has been handled by a dedicated team of students with a faculty advisor with electronics expertise. They have been breadboarding, prototyping, and testing all year. They also have a new plan to use modular subsystems for easier troubleshooting of the entire system and easy-to-replace subsystems. All in all, they are optimistic for a better outcome!
As students at the California Maritime Academy, team members are focused on emerging from college ready to make real contributions in their chosen fields. Academy students are encouraged to consider themselves global citizens and to participate in solutions for global issues. The need for global renewable energy implementation is apparent, and wind energy represents a compelling field where real solutions are taking place.
California Maritime Academy is designing and building a three-blade, horizontal access wind turbine that uses a direct drive configuration to generate three-phase alternating current. The rectification and control system will perform passive rectification and, most likely, use a microcontroller to control a boost/buck system and an electronic brake. The turbine’s load will consist of a pump moving water through a scale-model reverse-osmosis unit, which illustrates the team’s business model product, while displaying power output and other turbine data and performing real-time calculations related to the team’s business model.