First aflonol Conference on ROl)9woble Energy Technologv for flurd! Oevelopmen http://www.loe.edJ.


A Low- peed Axial-flux Permanent Magnet Alternator for Watermill
R. Maskey*.lI, L. B. Rana", M. Adhikari", B. Prajapati", M. Chudal"

Kathmandu Universif!._in association with University oj Karlsruhe Kathmandu UI,ivers£ty "Centre for Rural Technology Nepal


A prol()t)'pe (If the Low-Speed Axi.J..Flult Permanent Magnet Altema.lar (L')AFPMA) to be used in Pani~hattllS (Watermills) has been suecessfutly developed and temd at Klttbmandu Uniwrsuy The LSAFPMA ICdlnology i, VCfSatile. It' useful for generating electricity Ircm low-hesd h)'dropower an<! wind power plants. It could ~Jso be usod u motor ror electric vehicles, 1M " ~ and ()ther applkaJlOfU Owing to us 5lInplicilY In conllruction, aY"l1~billlyof chCllP materials v.ithi'n the res.i(JJIand e i tenet o(requcred blow-how in Nepal. it i~ believed Iiu LSAFPMA IX:thnoJogy could be il!apted in 1'I'eplll. This articledescn'bes !be test-results oItlle prototype.
Kq 1I<'(""ls: Anernatoe. Watermills. Hydropower


This article summarizes the development end tes1 results of the prototype ofa Low-Speed Axial-Flux P rmanent MIIgI\ t Alt rnator ( AFPMA) project, shortly called as LSAPPMA.projecl. [0 be utilized in (be Panl-Gbattas (Watermills) for charging batteries. The LSAFPMA.projecl was conducted jointly at Kathmandu University (KU) and CR IN, epal, This project was initiated by University of KArlsruhe through a grant from Conservanon International FoundatjonfWorld Bank, Washington DC in August 2005.
There are estimated 25000 watcrmills in Nepal. These are made of local materials using indigenous skills. Pani-Ghattas operate on very low-speed (less than 90 rpm). They are useful only for grinding grain.. Strengtbeing of existing Pani-Ghanas [Watermills) could be an appropriate solution for protecting environment and supporting livelihood of people in remote areas of mountainous regions of epal.

distributied power stations in remote villages pnor to bringing transmission lines from central power supply. With only SOWatt per household, which is sufficient for everal energy saving lamp (e.g., Whitelight Emitting Diode) a radio and a BIW TV, 500,000 houses could be electrified in remote villages within next decade. Moreover, these villages will be trained and strengthened prior to develop mini-grid fOT rural electrification (Ma key 2004). It i believed that these villages could feed their exce electrical energy to National Power Grid when it finally stretches to these villages. It is thu also necessary to innovate an electrical alternator that i uitable fOT Pani-Ghanas. The development of prototype of a LSAFPMA is just one step forward to this direction in Nepal, Many trials have been carried out by various persons and organj~tiolls (CRT ,2000, Eagle and Olding, 2003) to upgrade watcnnills for electricity generati n by drivmg induction motors as generators (lMAG). Watermills are characteristically low-head, 1 w-Ilow and lowspeed type hydropower plants. Therefore, to use lMAG with watennill the rotational speed bas to be increased ei er by using sophisticated gears or belt transmission. However, these components are expensive, require precision installation, heavy and add additional operation & maintenance problems to Gbatteras (Operators). A LSAFPMA, which has been extensively u ed in amall-scale wind power technology some where else in the world (Piggott, 2001, Lampola, 2000), may be suitable option for watermills. It may be built locally than other types of pennanent magnet alternators (radial-flux and transverse-flux types), The present challenge is to build a low-speed alternator of about t SO rpm (small-scale wind power uses above 300 rpm) in order to use in traditional watermills,

Prcviou auempts to improve Pani-Ghaua h ve brought some technological in ovation' mainly In mechanical components. CRTIN reports that around 3000 traditional watermills have been upgraded in Nepal (Shrestha, 2006) so far. The 0 called, Improved Watennills (lWM) CM acbieve rotational speed up 10 200 rpm producing enough mechanical power to drive rice baullers, oil expellers etc. If an electrical alternator of only 1 kW capacity is added to each of the e IWMs then 3 MW of electricity could be produced trom JWM.
There is a good potential to establish 25 MW

• Corresponding Author: Email:









s the first trial, 1t was decided to develop and t I a 100 Wan prototype of shaft-coupled low-speed alternator. The main objectives were to under land the prevailing construction constraints step-by-step and to improve gradually the design of the prototype.

The project objectives are envisaged to achieve in following three phases:
• l'h:ue: To de elop design criteria and

Owing to its modularity, various topology of a lowspeed AFPMA could be selected for The project team selected the single stator and single r tor topology (Refer Figure 1) fOT the prototype. It was easy and relatively cheap to build. One of the main design criteria wa to develop 30 V open circuit voltage for a peed of 150 rpm corresponding to a speed to open-circuit-voltage ratio of 5 rpmIV. This prototype WlIS designed to charge two 12 V- 7 Ah deep cycle DC batterie in series connection. For the performance test of the LSAFP fA, a special test-rig is planned to be built. However, for this stage of test, we found economical to use a bench mounted vertical universal drilling machine with variable peeds ranging from 50 rpm to 2700 rpm. It has provided some experimental data-base in very shon time.

technical prototype

specification for of a Low- peed Permanent Magnet Alternator.

developing Axial-Ilux

2nd Pbas : To construct different design of LSAFPMA lind LO conduct I) series of

performance test lit organizations/workshops. •



related at a

3...-1Pha : Pilot test of LSAFPMA watennill site nearby KU.

Hub with guidebearing Stator with coils and heat sinker

Alternator housing

Rotor with magnets


Upper grinding stone

Figure I: chcmatic of Ai-P iA eoupIecI MIll Wltemnll iJinders

Various design configuranons were tested. The prototype design specification is characterized by the foUowing three main parameters:


Specification Number of Doles Inner Diameter Outer DIameter Magnet type/size Pole Pitch Rotor shaft size

Parameters 12

260mm NdFeB/Segment: 60 rom x 50 mm x 19 rom x 8mm 180lJElectrical 30" Mechanical 012 rom. 150 mm



Number of phase No of coils per phase Inner Diameter Outer Diameter Coil Pitch Pole pitch

3 6 75mm 300mm 20" Mechaniclll - 120u Ele trieal (Short pitched winding) ISO" Electrical, 30° Mechanical 18(f' electrical -30" mecharncal Phase B and Phase C are delayed by 1200 and 2400 elecmcallv


No oftums~r coil Conductor size Resistance fcoit

5S SWG18 single
O.2Q 1.2Q 2.4Q

Resistance! phase Resistance/ lint to line
Coil connection


Con truetlon and Te ·t or LSAFPM Prototype tator: The coreless stator winding is designed for 18 poles, 3-pbase alternator. Rotor: The rotor is designed for 12 segment-typo NdFeB permanent magne pasted eqUtl)Jy to achieve regular spaces between magnets (2.2 mm or more). The e magnets arc protected firmly against flying away during operation.
The rotor axle is guided by two bearings

fixed on stator bou iog checked against static and dynamic loads.

Figure 2: Assembled LSAFPM
Test t-upr A load-banks, four 12 V DC bulb of 20 Walt<; were u ed. They were tested at 142, 210 and 240 rpm for the present case. The bridge rectifier as shown In Figure 10 has six diodes rated for 60 V and 6 A with a fo rd voltage drop of 1 V. A universal drilling machine having speed ranges from 50 rpm to 2700 rpm was used as a test-rig at thls stage.





Each LIlJlI Three Plwe ~ctdier

or RatIng

12 V 20 Walt

Figure 3: Brid~ rectifier Cor LSAFPMA


Final checking before test
Figure 4: TC5t 5(~·ups fOf

Alternator driving four 20 Watts 12V DC bulbs

e t Results: Tho adapted design achieved the ucing 72 Watt (see Table 1).

peed-open circuit voltage ratio of 9.6 rpm/\' al 250 rpm

Table I: Performance study of LSAFPMA
Observed AC 3I1dDC Voltage and CuTTCl1t
peed (in rpm)



AClPhase Voltage (V) 10 S9 5.29 4.31 4.1 3.8 8.6 7.8 6.5 6.06 5.3 10.75 9.75 813 6.63

Ac Line Voltage

DCVoltl1ge (V) 1.7 13.92 9.72 7I 6.2 5.8 20.8
15.3 lOA

OCCurrent (A)

DC POWC1 Output


41.76 10.20

No Load
No load Loadl Load 2 LoIId 3 Lood.4 No Load Loadl Looo2 Load 3 Load 4 No Load Load I Load 2 Load 3 Load 4

1.6 9.8 8.1 6.4 4.83 5.5 13.3 12.06 9.6 8.7 8.0 16.62 15.07 12.0 10.8 10

1.02 2.5S 3.06


142 10.19 212 9.62 250

9 II 8.53 26

1.19 3.4 4.08 5.44 1.5 4.25





18.2 35.36 37.2 46.4 28.65 55.25 57.63 72.(JS


6.8 10.6 Some measured characteristics curves of LSAFPMA have been plotted and presented in Figures 5 and 6.
1'.. 11"" 30




lAid 30


al15D rpm ./' 80 70 60




1140 ~30


l() II)

0 W







-j II
-Pload.UW PIOId-36 W • Plood-S4 W L-Plood-'12 W ~20





!I, IS 10

<, V


0 300



/ '-- I--4.25 S.I

~ iI-U2S0


1- rno




20 10 0



1.$ LI»d



urrent (A)

Figure S Measured IX' Po_ .gainst SJlced

Figure 6- Measured load ~haractcris1lcs

at 2S0


RETRUD-06 Conference Proce«flngs


4. DI 1.






6. •


is designed for 100 W 130V de at rated speed of 250 rpm .TIIB performance j satisfactory when 30W load is COllIX!GLed. The magnitude of the terminal voltage is very close to the designed value at rated peed 250 rpm at no load. be open-circuit terminal AC voltage waveform of the prototype is pure sinusoidal (Phase displacements are 1200 electrical). ingle stator and mgJe rotor configuration is implemented to reduce the cost of L AFPMA. Coreless stator is preferred at this tage to avoid Ih core loss component. But the trength of the flux will be reduced leadmg to increa e the number 0 tum to generate the same voltage as m core type. That, ill tum, increases copper losses as weU s resistance of the coil. Hence, there is • need for design optimrzancn, The voltage regulation of the prototype model IS not acceptable due to High Armature coil Resistance. To minunize this either thic er conductors coil or number of parallel paths are required However, that affects the weight of the tater and the magnetic pam. Leakage reaaance: Leakage re ctance and tile lateral flux were not considered. Armature reaction: Armature reaction demagnetize the main flux. so the operating point lnfts down ward m the BH curve of the PM magnet which operates III the 2nd quadrant. This is not considered 0 far. hart pitched coils arc used to accommodate all 18 coils in the same plane of the stator to avoid the overlapping. This al 0 assists to reduce harmonics from !he phase voltage, which may arise due to no sinusoidal flux. distribution in the 3Jr gap.

nus prototype

Furtbermore, the prototype is capable in producing more power for higher speeds. Thus. the developed LSAFPMA may be recommended for mediumpeed small-scale wind-home system or in pICOand micro-hydropower systems. Moreover, it was also found that the local know-how is sufficient for the production of LSAFPMA an Nepal. Future Work It is aimed at constructing a prototype of I kW LSAFP <tA to be tested as pilot project in :I WatermiIJ nearby Knthmandu University by December 2006. Furthermore, the following goals will be fulfilled in the next test: • Efficaency measurement • Leakage modeling of the generator as well as detail analysis of the armature reaction and dynamic behaviors of the machine • Thermal testing of the machine • Optimization of size with power rating, COS! and other specification to develop a pilot project 6. A KNOWLEDGEMENT The authors would like to thank the Conservation Internaticnal Foundation and World Bank. Washi.ngton DC for generously pro iding grant for ihi project, Similarly, the authors are also indebted to Kathmandu University and Centre for Rural Technology. Nepal for their technical and managerial supports in bringing this project at this stage. LITERATURE
CRTIN (2000): ComlJ1ullIlY in Pipaltsr ViLlJIge, Neopol Delighted 10 See Elecll'icilY from Improved Water MIlls. CC111Je()( Ruml Technology. Nepal ( (2) Lampola, P. (2000): Direclly lJriven, Low. p«<l Pcrmancol-M ajlJlet Generators for Wmd Power
ApphcallOOS. PhD di,scnatioo. ACIa POlytcchnikca Sealldltlavica. EJectrical Iil'Iginccring S«ics. 0. 101. E.spoo. 2000. Finni$h Acsdesnie of 'fechnology. ISB


S. eONCL Sf ON AND RE OMMRNDATION Coils developed using SWG 1& conductor gives a coil resi ranee per phase 1.2Q achieving better voltage regulation. However, the test results suggest ilia! the targeted 100 WaH may be achieved by ~ inding eacb coil with 2 parallel coil of 55 turns. Thi would increase the SIze of alternator approximatel by 17%. 'This size is acceptable with respect to transport, costs and available accommod lion in traditional watermills.


9SI~-S39-X Mulroy. R. K. (2004), maU-Hydroplanu-Bascd Power y£lems fi f Remote Re8ion~. Dodonl dissertation. Untverstty of Karlmlh.", KDrisrulle, Oermany. L41 Piggott It (2001): The penmnent MOi!J1d acn~l'lItor "A manual (or IllIJillfacwrers and d~yclopcrs Sconig Wind Elcclric in a SOCiUIlOD wilh ITOO-UK: rroo Peru and rrno South Asill. [.s] Shrestha L K. (2006): Mcetin, 'nerg» Needs of RUllIl "'oW1r~ill People thrO\lgh PnlmOliOll of Pioo-H)'dIO Technologies: A Case Swdles ofNcpal.


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