Wind energy is one of the best renewable sources of energy that we can get on our planet. We usually don’t see wind turbines mounted onto the rooftops. But if you have one for you, paying the electricity bill should be a breeze. However, people often keep wondering if wind energy is a bit too expensive. Well, that’s not always the case as there are many alternative ways to utilize it. The windmills that you see in the open would definitely cost you a fortune. On the other hand, if you create something like your own DIY Vertical axis wind turbine, then it’s a piece of cake. It would not only help you in contributing to green energy, but it would also help you in enhancing your technical knowledge. It is one of the perfect projects that you can work on with your teenage children and teach them sustainability at the same time.
The Significance of Wind Power
Statistical figures say wind power (providing 2.5 percent of total electricity) has reached an all-time high worldwide consumption with 197 GW capacity and 430 TWh of total energy production. Now, for comparison’s sake, the combined capacity of wind facilities around the world just marked at 17.4 GW in 2000. You can attribute this exponential increase (more than 11 times in 11 years) to better technology, effective administrative measures and in some cases efficient user contribution.
5 DIY Vertical Axis wind turbine designs to generate clean energy
So let’s get out our rusty tools and check out the 5 fascinating DIY Vertical Axis wind turbines (VAWT) contrived by the ‘common man’.
1. Homemade DIY vertical axis wind turbine from PVC pipes
Created by Instructables user Faroun, this unique (and dirt cheap) contraption combines recycled garage elements to make a full-fledged vertical axis wind turbine. According to the creator, the V8-4” turbine was ‘salvaged’ from PVC pipes (cut to shape), permanent caps from sewer pipe aisles, an axle from an old bike, a tricycle wheel, a DC motor, electric wire, and screws. The final product with a cost of paltry $182, has improved RPM and greater blade area, while Faroun aims to make it capable of generating 100 watts at 35 km/h of directional wind speed.
We all know that wind turbines need some kind of a brake mechanism to prevent them from rotating uncontrollably. With no such setup being installed, we fear that the turbine won’t be able to withstand high wind speeds. But since the turbine is only a $200 venture, we don’t think there is anything wrong in starting your green life with this.
2. Lenz2 vertical axis wind turbine
The Lenz2 relies completely on easily available household materials for its construction. At PopSci, Lenz2 was at an exhibition for a cost of less than $300. For the wing, it utilizes a primary component of plywood. This is in connection with 4 ft rods having a cover of sturdy aluminum. For the alternator, there are two separate steel discs with magnets on them. On the other hand, you would find copper wires taped to a plywood one. All of them are fixed to the main shaft around their axis. Other clamps and welding were used along the shaft, to hold the DIY contraption in one piece. This singular component in turn can generate (by connecting rectifier to the alternator) 50 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month for 8 battery pack, at optimum wind speed of 10 km – 36 km/hr.
Here is how you should build one for yourself:
a) Construct the wings:
Carefully cut teardrop shapes from plywood and connect them with four-foot rods. Cover these wings with aluminum.
b) Build the alternator:
This is a bit tricky. There is no difference between normal pieces of wood and the one in the design if the design is not able to harness wind and convert it into electricity. An alternator does this work. To design one just glue magnets to two steel discs. Tape copper-wire coils to a plywood disc and slide all three discs over the shaft.
c) Attach other parts:
Clamp both ends of the shaft to the rectangular frame. Weld the wings’ arms to the bottom of the alternator, as well as to a steel disc at the top of the turbine.
d) Mount the frame:
After the completion of step 3 you are almost done, the final step is to attach cables to the frame arms and stabilize with sandbags.
e) Power the house:
The last step is to use the generated power to power your house. Wire the alternator to a rectifier. This will convert the power into DC voltage. Connect this line to batteries. The wind turbine takes four to six hours to fully charge a bank of eight batteries.
3. The Zoetrope VAWT
Image Source : applied-sciences.net
This device consists of locally available hardware components like stove pipe, metal brackets, plastic sheet, and even a trailer hub. It has a very low cost design and zero emission water heating. You can regulate the power output of the simple yet sustainable Turbine to suit the micro-climate and characteristic of the site. On testing, it shows an output of 150-200 watts, while the nigh perfect wind (gust) velocity which it requires is at about 25 m/sec.
4. VAWT made from scrapped rechargeable drill
Above Secret Post user Citizen Smith has designed a VAWT from the stripped form of a rechargeable drill (including the embedded circuitry and body shell). He put to test this hollow drill by another cordless drill, with a final result of 150-200 rpm at 11.5 V. With this sufficient rotating mechanism, he went on to contrive a helical turbine design made from corrugated cardboard. The wing section was then covered in fibre-glass mat and resin for the finish of mold. He could then utilize them (for casting blade components) into the 3m high helical rotor structure.
5. 55 Gallon Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
Image Source : personal.psu.edu
The conspicuously bulbous 55 gallon barrels were vertically cut down through halfway for Savonius type turbine. For the vertical axle – a 3″ PVC pipe was used to be utilized as fixing component for the two halves of the barrel mounted on each other. The plastic clamps were connected with two square plywood planks with ball bearing (on the inside) for added fluidity of motion. Coming to power generation, a permanent magnet alternator was used with custom shaped gear for optimum gear ratio. Finally, a fan blade was integrated for the cooling process of the whole generator in case of higher wind speed.