It is possible to build a small wind turbine and, depending on the type you build, the cost can be surprisingly affordable. Once the logistics of wind availability have been determined, it is time to decide what type of wind turbine to build. Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) or Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) are two common choices. The information provided here is for a VAWT. Much like the free wind that blows and draws the attention of people seeking renewable and affordable energy resources, there is a great deal of free, inexpensive and reliable information at the small wind turbine builder's disposal. (All information in this article is from Other Power User's Manual in Additional Resources)
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Workshop equipped with standard tools
- Plans with parts for VAWT
- 12, 24 or 48 volt battery
- Blade finish
- Tower with pipe or tubing
- Couplers and guy wire connectors
- Wiring to connect tower to power
- Rectifier assembly
- Shutdown switch
- Self-staring mechanism
- Set of spoilers
Set up renewable energy (RE) system prior to assembling turbine. This is the battery to which you will connect the turbine. The function of the wind turbine is to power the battery, thereby providing renewable energy to the battery. The wind turbine's stator will determine the voltage of battery you will use. The volts must match.
Select a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine. There appears to be some debate about VAWT vs. HAWT effectiveness. Mother Earth News cites the National Aeronautical Establishment's findings: "[The vertical axis wind turbine's] aerodynamic efficiency compares with the current horizontal axis machines." For simplicity of design and lower initial investment, VAWTs look like the promise for affordable wind energy.
Select plans that include parts for your VAWT. Gather and identify all parts, using instruction manuals as references. The main parts are the blades, alternator, tail boom, and blade hubs.
Assemble the VAWT. Install rectifier assembly into the battery-based RE system. Install shutdown switch. Install controller, breaker, and dump load into the RE system. Wire from tower base to power supply.
Install tower. Run a test to check raising the tower. Adjust guy wires to stabilise tower. Install turbine to tower top. Attach tail vane to tail boom. Attach blades to rotor and attach to alternator. Balance blades.
Raise tower and turbine. This is not a test. The system is ready to supply power to your home. Your plans come with contact information for support as you proceed in building the VAWT. Use them.
Building a Wind Turbine
Tips and warnings
- Research wind conditions in your area.
- Provide for backup energy to provide power when winds are calm.
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