U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition : technical design report 2019

A project submitted to the faculty of the California Maritime Academy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

Our team’s objective this year was to build off the previous year’s design and improve its performance, specifically start-up. We improved the overall documentation of the design, build, and analysis process as well. In previous years, their research was not well documented. This forced the following team to repeat research that had already been conducted. To improve documentation, we conducted multiple trade-off studies to validate design decisions, and worked closer with underclassmen to make the transition between teams an easier process. For this competition, we designed a fixed-pitch, three-blade, stall-controlled, passive yaw, small-scale wind turbine. Our shaft drives a synchronous brushless DC generator that produces three-phase AC power. For our wind turbine, a brushless DC generator is used to convert mechanical energy into electrical power. Said brushless DC generator was selected after extensive research. Throughout the research process, over fifteen generators were benchmarked using a generator selection matrix which compared theoretical performance of generators at typical competition operating conditions. Once the generator was selected, it was purchased and tested to validate the provided technical specifications. Using measured generator performance characteristics, a theoretical system performance model was created that allowed us to observe system performance relative to wind power curves.