P. 1
Maglev Wind Turbine

Maglev Wind Turbine

|Views: 2,914|Likes:
Published by optimuslim

More info:

Published by: optimuslim on May 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Abstract This paper presents an overview of the maglev wind turbine design features.

A vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) is introduced by magnetic levitation technology to optimize the performance. The system utilize nature of permanent magnet to levitate the turbine component and thus minimize energy losses while rotating, which is the major problem that faced by conventional wind turbine. The selection of magnet materials in the design of wind turbine system will be discussed. The Maglev Wind Turbine is expected to bring wind power technology to the next level. Furthermore, the system can be suited in use for rural and urban areas of low wind speed regions such as Malaysia, the country which has low wind speed, approximately 1.5m/s to 2.0m/s. A model of wind turbine is built to perform several tests such as starting wind speed, rotational speed at constant wind speed, and time taken to stop rotation completely. The results obtained will be compared with the model of conventional wind turbine.

Page 1

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 General Human have invented thousand of machines and appliances that utilize energy to make the daily works easier, for instance to heat our house, to get ourselves from place to place. Some of this machines use electricity, while others, like automobiles use the energy stored in gasoline. Much of the energy supply comes from coal, oil, natural gas, or radioactive element. In fact, all these natural resource deposits took millions of years to form. They are considered non renewable which means once they are removed from the ground, they are not immediately replaced within the human time scale. This current issue is frequently discussed at the level of whole world in order to look for a solution.

Nowadays, we will ultimately need to search for renewable or virtually inexhaustible energy for the human development to continue. Renewable energy is defined as the energy generated by the natural resources such as wind, sun light, water which are quickly replace itself and is usually in never ending supply. The exploration of renewable energy is the only approach to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Among those renewable energy resources, wind energy is the only resource that will be concerned in this paper. Wind energy was first harvested centuries ago, when early windmills were used to power millstones, pumps, and forges. More recently, the wind is harnessed by using a special collector, called wind turbine to produce a clean, safe source of electricity. Various designs have been proposed in order to create a high efficient wind turbine which able to generate maximum electric power. They may either the design of shapes of the turbine blades, the
Page 2

axis of rotation, and other useful modification. Recently, an advance technique, Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) is incorporated into turbine system in order to fulfill the needs of those energy industries. The Maglev wind turbine, which was first unveiled at the Wind Power Asia exhibition in Beijing, is expected take wind power technology to the next level with magnetic levitation. The turbine uses permanent magnets (neodymium), not electromagnets and therefore, it does not require electricity to run. This design claims that the friction between the turbine blades and the base can be reduced significantly and thus produces maximum power output. This task can be a success by using pairs of permanent magnet which attached to both the turbine blades and the fixed base of machine. A repulsive force will be produced to lift the blades above the base. The turbine blades will be levitated instead of mounted them (using ball bearing) to the base of the machine. It will allow them to rotate with minimum friction and minimize the energy loss. This system can operate under low (as low as 1.5m/s) and high wind speed (exceeding 40m/s) condition. From the study, the generation capacity of maglev wind turbine is 20% over conventional wind turbines and decrease operational costs by 50%. This make the efficiency of the system become higher than the conventional wind turbine. 1.2 Objective The objective of this report is to design a Maglev wind turbine to meet the following requirements 1. Improve the starting wind speed 2. Able to rotate with high speed 3. Longer time to stop rotation completely

Page 3

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Wind Energy Wind is the flowing of air. This phenomenon occurs in the whole world and it is caused by uneven heating on the earth’s surfaces which causes the air is flow from hotter regions with higher pressure to colder regions with lower pressure. There are some reasons to support in using the wind energy to produce electricity power. Wind power available in the atmosphere is much greater than current world energy consumption. The exploitation of wind power is only limited by the economic and environmental factors, since the resource available is far larger than any practical means to develop it. Renewable energy produced from the wind has attracted a lot of attention and support in recent year’s .However, this green energy is often criticized for its low output and lack of reliability. 2.2 Wind Turbine The basic working principle of a wind turbine is: When air move quickly, in the form of wind, and their kinetic energy is captured by the turbine blades. The blades start to rotate and spin a shaft that leads from the hub of the rotor to a generator and produce electricity. The tradition generator experience lots of problem such as highly inefficient, expensive, high maintenance cost, hazardous to wildlife, and take up too much land, require high starting wind speed to operate. In general, they are two types of wind turbine according to the axis they are rotating about. Horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) is the type of wind turbine which has a main rotor shaft and electrical generator at the top of tower and pointed to the direction of wind. Most of them possess a gearbox which turns the slow rotation of turbine blades into faster rotation that is more suitable to

Page 4

drive an electrical generator. As for the Vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) consists of generator and gearbox which are placed at the ground and thus there is no need for a tower to support them as in HAWT. The main rotor shaft is arranged vertically to allow the turbine blades rotate without facing to the direction of the wind. In VAWT system, the generator and gearbox is placed on the ground rather than on the top. There is no need of the support from a tower make it more accessible for maintenance. The key of vertical arrangement of the rotor shaft enable the turbine blades need not to be pointed to the direction of wind. This is suitable for them to be installed on high variable wind speed region. They can utilize wind from varying direction. In addition, they have larger surface areas and can operate in low wind speed region compare with HAWT.

However, most of the new designs of VAWT experience some common problems. Due to the wind speeds are very low close to ground level, so although their arrangement may save a tower, but the wind speeds will be very low on the lower part of rotor. This causes the overall efficiency of the vertical axis machines is not impressive. Also, the machine need guy-wires to hold it in place puts stress on the bottom bearing as all the weight of the rotor is on the bearing. Guy wires attached to the top bearing increase downward thrust in wind gusts. Solving this problem requires a superstructure to hold a top bearing in place to eliminate the downward thrusts of gust events in guy wired models.

The idea for VAWTs has been blowing around for decades. However, VAWTs are not commonly deployed due mainly to the serious disadvantages mentioned above, they appear novel to those not familiar with the wind industry or wind farm. This has often made them the subject of wild claims

Page 5

and investment scams over the last 50 years [3] [4]. Despite many advance technology available so far has attracted interest about improving the VAWT system.

2.3 Magnetic Levitation

Magnetic levitation (maglev) is a method in which an object is suspended with no support other than magnetic fields. The magnetic force produced is used to counteract the effects of the gravitational force and lift up the object. There are many advantages for utilizing magnetic levitation that is to minimize friction, make force measurement, design, and entertaining devices. Recently, this advance technology is applied into transportation system in which non contacting vehicle travel safely at very high speed while suspended, guided, and propelled above a guide way by magnetic fields. The concept of magnetically levitated vehicle stimulates the development of useful application in various fields such as the power generation. 2.4 Maglev Wind Turbine

Unlike the maglev vehicle, the vertically oriented blades of the wind turbine are suspended in the air above the base of the machine by using permanent magnet which produces magnetic force to lift up the blades. This system does not require the electricity to operate because no electromagnets are involved. Since the turbine blades are suspended by magnetic force produce by the permanent magnet, there is no need of ball bearing to retain the blades. This allows the friction between the blades and ball bearing can be reduced significantly and thus, minimizes the energy loss. This also helps reduce maintenance costs and increases the lifespan of the generator. The Maglev wind turbine, which was first unveiled at the Wind Power Asia exhibition in Beijing, is expected take wind power technology to the next level with magnetic levitation.

Page 6

CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY 3.1 Introduction A model of wind turbine is built for the use of an experiment to determine the starting wind speed to operate. The arrangement of component of the model is flexible and it can be treated as maglev and conventional wind turbine.

The experiment contains three tests to analyze the performance of model. The first test is the wind speed that needed to start to rotate the turbine blades. The second test is rotational speed of wind turbine model under constant wind speed. The third test the time taken by the model to completely stop rotation. The rotational speed of turbine blades and wind speed is measured by tachometer and anemometer respectively.

3.2 Theory A model is built using affordable material for the purpose of analysis. The type of VAWT is being used is the Savonius type wind turbine. The amount of magnetic force that needs to counteract the weight of the wind turbine must be determined before the type of magnet material is selected. From the law of attraction (1.0)

Then, the equation is rewritten as below to calculate the magnetic force between two poles (2.0)

Page 7



: Magnetic force, N : Magnetic poles, A. m : Permeability of free space 4π x , N/


: Distance between two poles, m

The magnetic poles of the magnet can be calculated by using following equation (3.0)


: Coercive force, A/m : Magnetic poles, A. m A : Pole face area,

Assuming the distance, r is constant. Then from the equations (2.0) and (3.0), the equation can be rearranged

(4.0) According to the equilibrium of forces, (5.0)


Where m g

: Magnetic force, N : total mass of the wind turbine that need to be levitate, kg : gravitational acceleration,
Page 8

Figure 1: Free body diagram of magnetically levitated object

Therefore, the magnetic force must have equal forces to the weight of the wind turbine so that it will levitate. Also, the type of magnet materials with known characteristics can be determined using the above equation provided the weight of model that needs to be levitated. The conventional wind turbine is made by removing the magnet attached to both fixed base and turbine blades, and replacing with a ball bearing.

Page 9

3.3 CAD Drawings


1. Shaft 2 2. Wind Turbine 3. Permanent Magnet 4. Fixed Base



Figure 2: Modeling of Maglev Wind Turbine

3.4 Bill of Materials Part 1. 2. 3. 4. Shaft Wind Turbine Permanent Magnet Fixed Base Material Stainless Steel Cardboard Ceramics Magnet Wood

Page 10

3.5 Procedures Test 1: The starting wind speed of wind turbine model 1. The model is assembled to be the maglev wind turbine 2. A fan is placed in the direction parallel to the maglev wind turbine model. 3. The fan is switched on and the wind produced is directed to the model. 4. The model is replaced by anemometer and the fan is switched on again. The wind speed is recorded 5. The test is repeated by using conventional wind turbine model. Test 2: The rotational speed of wind turbine model at constant wind speed 1. The steps 1 until 4 in test 1 are repeated. The wind speed is measured by using anemometer. 2. The reading of rotational speed of model is recoded after 1 minute for five times. 3. The test is repeated by using conventional wind turbine model. The distance between the maglev and conventional wind turbine model with the fan is made sure to be the same. Test 3: The time taken by wind turbine model to stop rotation 1. The steps 1 until 3 in test 1 are repeated. 2. The fan is then switch off after 5 minutes and a card bock is placed in front of it. 3. The time at which the model to stop its rotation completely is recorded. 4. Steps 2 and 3 are repeated for two times. 5. The test is repeated by using conventional wind turbine model.

Page 11

CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS 4.1 Results Test 1: The starting wind speed of wind turbine model Wind Turbine Model Maglev Conventional 1.9 4.2 Starting Wind Speed (m/s) 1.5 4.5 1.4 4.6 Average (m/s) 1.60 4.59

Test 2: The rotational speed of wind turbine model at constant wind speed of 5.63 m/s Wind Turbine Model Rotational Speed (RPM) Average (RPM) Maglev Conventional 666.00 292.80 666.00 294.00 630.00 235.80 618.00 270.00 630.00 237.00 640.80 265.92

Test 3: The time taken by wind turbine model to stop rotation Wind Turbine Model Maglev Conventional 14.1 1.6 Time Taken (s) 15.7 1.5 13.7 1.4 Average (s) 14.5 1.5

Page 12

4.2 Discussion From the test 1, the wind turbine model with magnetic levitation starts to rotate at lower wind speed than that of conventional wind turbine, which is 1.6m/s and 4.59m/s respectively. Most of the existing wind turbine requires high starting wind speed to operate. They are not suitable used to generate electricity power in certain country such as Malaysia, which has low and unsteady wind speed. Therefore, starting wind speed becomes an important element that must be included in the design of wind turbine. The concept of maglev wind turbine is introduced to fulfill this requirement. Maglev wind turbine is able to start to rotate at lower wind speed compare with conventional wind turbine. This can be explained in terms of friction force. In general, there are two friction force exist in an operating wind turbine. Since the turbine blades are attached to the shaft by using ball bearing, a friction force is produced between them. Also, there is another friction forces exist between the turbine blades and the fixed base. In wind turbine with magnetic levitation, the latter one can be eliminate because the turbine blades are lift up by magnetic force. This wind turbine need only overcome the moment inertia and friction forces between the shaft and bearing before it start to rotate. Instead, the conventional wind turbine needs to overcome moment inertia and both the friction forces, and thus needs higher wind speed which results in more energy to start to rotate. In addition, magnetic levitation wind turbine requires less maintenance compare with the conventional wind turbine. This is because the disadvantage of using bearing is it will wear off as the time goes on. Therefore, the bearing needs to be replaced after some time so that the wind turbine is operating efficiently.

Page 13

From test 2, the maglev wind turbine model has a higher rotating speed than the conventional wind turbine under constant wind speed of 5.63m/s. The rotational speeds of maglev wind turbine and conventional wind turbine are 10.68rpm and 4.43rpm. This result can be explained in terms of energy conversion. According to the law of energy conservation, part of kinetic energy in flowing wind is converted into kinetic energy due to rotating turbine blades, and then produces electric energy. However, the arrangement of the components of wind turbine limits this conversion and results in energy loss in terms of heat and sound. The following equation can be used to illustrate this phenomenon. The total kinetic energy of flowing wind supply to wind turbine ∆Kinetic Energy (flowing wind) = kinetic energy (wind before entering wind turbine) - Kinetic Energy (wind after exiting wind turbine) According to law of energy conservation ∆Kinetic Energy (flowing wind) - kinetic energy (rotating turbine blades) – Energy Loss = 0 And therefore, ∆Kinetic Energy (flowing wind) = kinetic energy (rotating turbine blades) + Energy Loss

Page 14

Figure 3: Conversion of energy in Maglev Wind turbine

Therefore, the conventional wind turbine experiences much energy loss in term of heat and sound. More kinetic energy is needed to overcome the friction forces exist between the bearings attached to the turbine blades and bottom. This make the rotational speed of conventional wind turbine become lower than the maglev one. Higher rotational speed means higher kinetic energy of rotating turbine blades and hence more electric energy can be generated by maglev wind turbine. From test 3, the maglev wind turbine model take a longer time to stop its rotation completely compare to conventional one. This test is carried out under the same wind speed. The time taken by both the maglev wind turbine and conventional wind turbine to stop their rotation is 14.5s and 1.5s respectively. Since the flowing of wind is unpredictable and varies all the time. The wind may come to a lower speed and even stop at every instant of time. Higher stopping time is desired because the wind turbine can still rotate at lower speed in longer time when the speed of flowing wind decrease. And when the wind speed increases, the wind turbine immediately rotate faster without achieve the starting wind speed (if wind turbine stop in few seconds).

Page 15

Selection of suitable hard or permanent magnet becomes an important consideration in the design of a maglev wind turbine. However, due to the cost limitation, the ceramics magnet material is used to construct the model. It is benefited if the characteristics of permanent magnet materials before build an actual maglev wind turbine system. For example, the temperature in which the permanent magnet is applied can never be reached the Curie temperature. Otherwise, the magnet will be demagnetized that is lost its magnetic properties. Since the maglev wind turbine is located outdoor, the surrounding temperature must ensured not to exceed the Curie temperature of permanent magnet. The arrangement of permanent magnet is also a crucial decision. Improper arrangement of magnet may affect the distribution of magnetic field and thus cause magnetic force produced is not vertically upward. Another phenomenon will happen due to improper arrangement of magnet. Considering the following diagram

Figure 4: The distribution of magnetic field between two permanent magnets

Page 16

Figure 5: The distribution of magnetic field when upper part of start to move

The magnetic field is distributed as show in figure 3 before the turbine start to move. When the upper part start to move right hand side, the magnetic field will be concentrate on this direction. This make the magnetic force is larger at the right hand side than left one. The imbalance magnetic forces cause difficulty to the upper part start to move. Although the magnetic levitation is incorporated into wind turbine system to increase the power output, there are still several ways to improve the performance of the system. Blade direction with respect to the wind should be individually controlled by sensor in order to move the blades and present less of an angle to the wind on the circular return path against wind flow. In other words, each blade function should be made as a controllable wing to provide maximum efficiency of the system. In addition, the function of guide wind should be introduced into maglev wind turbine system to increase the speed of the wind and optimize the angle of attack for the turbine blades to rotate. Recently, there are many suggestions regarding the usage of permanent magnet to create a perpetual motion. If this concept works, a perpetual motion generator can be invented which is able
Page 17

to produce electricity continuously. But, if the concept is investigated deeply, the perpetual motion is found not practical. For instance, if two magnets are attached to turbine blades and the outer surface (surrounding the turbine blades), the repulsive force produced will continuously push the turbine blades to rotate. This phenomenon may happen at long time but not forever. This is because both of magnet material will locate the poles themselves and achieve an equilibrium condition. Once reach equilibrium state, the repulsive force would not appear between the two magnets and the wind turbine stop from rotation.

Page 18

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION The Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) with magnetic levitation performs better than the conventional wind turbine. This is because, the maglev VAWT model has lower starting wind speed (1.6 m/s) compare to conventional one (4.59m/s). The rotational speed of maglev VAWT is higher, that is 640.80rpm, while the conventional model is 265.92rpm at constant wind speed of at 5.63m/s. The time taken for the maglev wind turbine to stop rotating is longer than that of conventional which is 14.5s and 1.5s respectively. Therefore, the Maglev wind turbine is suitable for the application of urban areas to provide green energy.

Page 19


[1] Tony Burton, David Sharpe, & Nick Jenkins (2001), Wind Energy: Handbook , Asia: John Wiley and Sons, inc. [2] Erich Hau(2006), Wind turbines: fundamentals, technologies, application, economics, New York: Springer Berlin heidelberg [3] Ion Paraschivoiu (2002), Wind Turbine Design: with emphasis on Savonius concept, Canada: International Press [4] Peter Campbell (1996), Permanent magnet materials and their application, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press [5] Society of Automotive Engineers (1992), Maglev, New York: Society of Automotive Engineers [6] F. C. Moon, Pei-Zen Chang (1994), Superconducting levitation: applications to bearings and magnetic transportation, WILEY-VCH [7] China Makes Huge Breakthrough in Wind Power Technology, Retrieved August 1, 2009 from http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4217

[8] Background of MAGLEV, Retrieved September 3, 2009 from http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blrailroad3.htm

Page 20


Figure A.1. Prototype of Maglev Wind Turbine

Figure A.2. Magnetically levitated turbine blades

Page 21


Figure A.3. Tachometer

Figure A.4. Anemometer

Page 22

Equipment Set-Up

Figure A.5. Wind Speed Measurement

Figure A.6. Testing of Maglev wind turbine

Page 23

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->