Department of Mathematics

McCleer Power, Inc.


Windmill Design Optimization*+

Presently there are two distinct competing design philosophies for 1 khp commercial wind generators --- the American versus the European.

The American machines employ (several stage) gear boxes that transform the typically 23 rpm blade rotation to 1200 rpm alternator speed. The gear trains are expensive and prone to failure. The alternators are relatively small,
inexpensive, and easy to mount.

The European designs are direct drive --- the blade and the alternator turn at the same speed. However the penalty of this simple approach is that the alternator diameter must be huge, say 18 feet in diameter, to achieve
high rotor tangential speed so as to cut flux lines at a high rate and thereby extract electric power. With this huge size comes a severe first cost penalty of the alternator, tower, and mountings.

Both designs can generate power at 2 cents per kWh.

What is the least-cost intermediate design?

The ideal deliverable will be a cost study with realistic costing of components in today's dollars. This is a vast project; the team will have to cut back to some portion of the problem.

+Relevant sites:
http://www.nrel.gov/research/wind/wind_bib.html
http://books.nap.edu/books/0309044790/html/index.html
http://www.awea.org/default.htm
http://www.awea.org/standards/iec_stds.html
http://www.eren.doe.gov/wind/
http://www.ecn.nl/unit_de/wind/main.html
http://www.ewea.org/
http://www.nrel.gov/wind/

*This summary prepared by Prepared by C. R. MacCluer and R. E. Svetic with the participation of P. J. McCleer.

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