ResearchThe University of Newcastle Wind Energy Group has undertaken research and development in the small wind turbine technology for many years. Currently it is involved with the development and testing of high efficiency composite and timber blades for small horizontal axis wind turbines. To date the group has designed and manufactured blades for a 5kW and a 600W wind turbine. As part of this work, the group has addressed the following:
- Developed a detailed accelerated fatigue test program for small wind turbines based on measured the aeroelastic performance of blades on an operating wind turbine.
- Undertake physical fatigue testing of blades using a fatigue test rig specifically designed for small blades;
- As an ongoing process, develop new blade shapes which simultaneously maximize energy extraction at low wind speeds without unduly effecting blade performance at high wind speeds, and
- Develop manufacturing techniques to ensure tight geometrical tolerances on physically small blades.