Queen's Wreath flower inspires water pumping wind turbine
With assistance from a computer model to simulate the performance of a wind turbine a Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Mechanical Engineer proved it works efficiently and would help relieve the water requirements of many countries around the world.Bogotá D. C., 17 de agosto de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
As claimed by UNal Mechanical Engineer Werner Francis Wahanik, who participated in a bioinspired wind turbine simulation during an exchange semester at Purdue University.
The first prototype was designed by UNal Mechanics Engineering M. Sc. David Armando Castañeda, which was based on the natural design of Petrea volubilis (also known in Spanish as Machigua) which has five petals and when it falls it maintains a rotating movement.
“Taking into account the qualities of this flower we think the turbine designed with similar form would be adequate to transform wind energy into rotational energy,” said Wahanik.
Given that the need for energy could increase by 50% for the year 2035, there would be a need for clean energy sources. Furthermore 884 million people do not have access to freshwater and this need could be solved by using underground water wells and a wind pumping system.
To build the five-blade turbine they scanned the petals of the flower and printed the blades in 3-D in plastic and fiberglass.
The prototype was tested in a UNal-Bogotá wind tunnel to determine its power coefficient, in other words the efficiency to turn wind energy into useful power and then calculate performance in a pumping system.
With the purpose of confirming the tests and analyzing the system in other operating conditions Wahanik carried out fluid computer simulations to assess the performance of the wind rotor.
The procedures were carried out at Purdue University. There the student was supported by Professor Jun Chen and thanks to the method used they forecasted the torque generated in different wind speed conditions and angular speeds; parameters necessary to assess the efficiency of the system.
“We demonstrated that this wind turbine has good power coefficient with low rotational speeds and works with low wind speeds,” said Wahanik.
Furthermore the efficiency of this turbine was greater in comparison to other types of turbines, such as the Dutch wind turbines to mill flour. He also demonstrated that its efficiency is similar to 3-blade turbines.
“The turbine can work at low speeds of 3.5 meters per second (m/s), a lower speed than the usual turbines which need 10 m/s,” he said.
The project was headed by Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics Professor Fabio Emiro Sierra, Director of the UNal Laboratory of Thermal Plants and Renewable Energies.(Por: Fin/VC/DMH/APBL