Alternative Energy Innovations – Pioneering Breakthroughs in Wind Power

Alternative Energy Innovations Pioneering Breakthroughs in Wind

Wind power is one of the most efficient renewable sources. It can be used for pumping water, grinding grain and generating electricity that will power homes, businesses and public buildings like libraries or schools.

Over the last decade, wind turbines have seen remarkable growth. Their individual blades are now larger than football fields and allow them to capture more energy from wind sources.

Modular Wave Energy Converters

Wave energy converters utilize the heaving motions of waves to drive hydro-turbine generators within their hulls. This innovative technology captures wave energy and generates electricity at various wave heights and periods.

Wave energy must reach its potential as a sustainable source of renewable power, but in order to realize its full potential smaller, cheaper and more resilient converters are needed that can withstand the ocean’s powerful currents for extended periods. To aid developers in making that leap NREL has created the award-winning Wave Energy Converter SIMulator (WEC-Sim).

WEC-Sim is a simulation software package utilizing MATLAB/SIMULINK that accurately simulates a floating device’s body, joints and constraints as well as its power take-off systems. This enables developers to test how their technology will behave under waves of varying heights and force conditions. The results are highly accurate and precise – helping them avoid costly mistakes before they go live in the wild.

Space-Sourced Solar Energy

Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) is a renewable energy source that beams electricity down to Earth from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. This alternative source of power has several advantages over traditional solar panels on the ground, such as constant base-load generation 24 hours a day and 99% of the year.

However, this concept isn’t without its challenges. Clouds could obstruct laser beams, so researchers are working on a way of transmitting energy wirelessly by turning it into microwaves.

Another pressing problem is how to transmit power from a ground receiver. Scientists have demonstrated that electricity can be transmitted over long distances using microwaves, but such systems must be kilometres across and synchronized for interference prevention.

Karen Jones, a space economist at the Aerospace Corporation in Arlington, Virginia, notes that designing such systems is “incredibly complex”. Caltech’s prototype, which unfolds into an intricate fold that could be transformed into solar panel platforms the size of dining tables, attempts to solve this issue by flying its flexible panels in formation and using algorithms to compensate for any shifts in position that affect power transmission.

Aeroelastic Tailoring

Aeroelastic Tailoring allows wind turbine blades to passively reduce loads, leading to reduced fatigue stress and improved energy capture. This is accomplished by designing structural bend-twist coupling into the rotor blade structure through geometric (sweep) or material (fibre steering) means.

This paper investigates the application of functionally graded metallic materials for aeroelastic tailoring of a cantilevered plate-like wing. Pareto trade-off curves are generated for various grading strategies, and these results are used to assess their effects on dynamic stability and static aeroelastic stresses.

Aeroelastic tailoring is a relatively recent technique that has been utilized in several aircraft applications, yet its potential remains underutilized. This research seeks to expand the possibilities for introducing more complex performance constraints while still minimizing structural weight and costs.

Diffuser-Augmented Wind Turbines

Diffuser-Augmented Wind Turbines (DAWTs) are a type of wind energy conversion device that increases the efficiency in converting wind energy to electrical power. DAWTs also increase the output of existing turbines by enabling them to be situated closer together for greater power production.

Turbulence can be one of the major obstacles to wind turbine performance, but diffuser-augmented turbines can alleviate this issue by speeding up the flow to higher speeds.

Diffuser-augmented wind turbines also offer the benefit of being more compact than standard bare wind turbines, thereby saving money on construction and land costs.

Diffuser-augmented wind turbines offer an attractive alternative to traditional bare wind turbines. Not only do they help generate more electricity at lower costs, but they are much greener than their non-diffuser counterparts.