Building a Home Wind Turbine
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TweetYou can build a small wind turbine at an affordable initial investment. Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) or Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) are two types of wind turbines.
Understanding and building a wind turbine is not difficult. The investment of your time and efforts is well worth it. Your final product is not just very good for your pocket but for the preservation of the environment too.
Before beginning however; take the time to investigate any regulations concerning restrictions. Some communities limit the height of structures on private property. In all likelihood you will be mounting your wind turbine on top of a tower or roof, in order to take maximum advantage of the unobstructed wind. So, you need to check with your county or city zoning department for any restrictions that would require a permit.
For this article we will look at the basic needs and construction of a VAWT vertical turbine. Although there are good reasons to choose HAWT construction I have chosen to feature the vertical turbine. Mostly due to the ease of construction and expense. Finding kits or wind turbine plans are easy. I highly recommend the use of plans and if you can fit a kit into your budget they are highly effective and will reduce your build time.
At the first stage you will need to prepare the renewable energy source. You will need a battery in which the turbine will store energy. The wind turbine stator will determine the size of the battery or battery bank. (12, 24, 48 volt).
Batteries and charge controllers: You will need storage batteries to store all that power you will be making and a way to control the charging process. This is a very important part of your residential wind power system. You will need to run wires from the wind generator to the battery bank to put the power in the batteries, then you can run wires from the batteries to a power inverter to run AC current to power your home.
The basic components of a wind turbine are the base section, tower sections, nacelle, hub and rotor. We will touch on each one briefly.
The base and tower sections have been made from many materials. These materials range from wood to steel. One of the favorite choices is to use an old T.V. antenna tower. These are easy to find and most people are more than happy to have them removed from their property. They work great and are a perfect effort in recycle. If you choose to construct your own tower remember the base section needs to be reasonably stronger and heavier than the other tower sections.
The nacelle is generally referring to a motor, alternator or generator. You will also hear it referred to as the gearbox and a method to govern the rotation of the rotor. It doesn’t matter what you call it — wind turbine, windmill, or wind generator, the most important part of any wind power producing device is the generator. Connected to the blades, it’s the part that converts rotational motion into electricity through the use of magnetic fields. DC permanent magnet motors and generators are fairly inexpensive and come in a wide variety of configurations. You’ll want a motor that has a higher voltage, higher current, and a lower rpm. This will allow you to generate much more power at a lower speed (rpm). Some free sources of good motors are within old discarded treadmills. Ebay is another source where a DC motor can be purchased usually at a very reasonable price.
The nacelle housing should be constructed in an aero-dynamic designed and large enough to house you motor and able to attach your hub. Using plywood to construct the tail allows your turbine to yawl into the wind as required.
The rotor blades for a residential windmill can be constructed from wood, fiberglass, plastic or other material. The shape and size are designed to catch wind. Usually if you have a good blade design than three blades are enough to make a rotor. The diameter will depend on the material and height of your turbine. Most home turbine rotors connect directly to the shaft of the permanent magnetic motor. With the surge in alternative energy there are many very good rotor kits avaliable.
The advantages of making a residential windmill are numerous. A blade roughly six feet in diameter in a 10 mph wind will produce an average of about 50 watts of power, enough to charge batteries to run a 2-amp energy-efficient lamp for fifty hours.
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