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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION
The recent advancements in the field of microelectronics have not only miniaturized
the wireless devices but have also decreased their power requirement by an order of
magnitude. Wireless sensors nodes, for example, now need power less than 1 mW .
Such nodes are used in variety of applications such as gas and chemical sensors,
temperature, pressure and humidity monitoring, motion detector, structural health
monitoring, and explosives detection. The over-expanding usage of wireless devices
however has brought challenges in terms of finding a suitable power source,
especially for the remote applications. In majority of such cases, currently lithium cell
batteries are used, which presents maintenance challenge because these batteries need
to be regularly monitored and replaced. One of the most convenient methods of
supplying the required power to the miniature electronic devices is by harvesting the
wind energy.
The conventional large scale wind turbines (LSWTs) are efficient and the modern
mega-watt wind turbines have power coefficient up to 40%-45%. However, they need
high wind speed to operate; typical rated wind speed is around 12 m/s-14 m/s.
Further, their installations are limited to areas far from the city or township due to
some practical concerns related to safety hazards and noise emission. In comparison,
small scale wind turbines (SSWTs) can operate at low wind speed, generate minimal
noise and there are no known safety hazards. In spite of several advantages, very few
small-scale wind turbine models have been developed. It is interesting to note that
most of these wind turbines are in mid-scale range. The rated wind speed is typically
above 10 m/s.
None of the wind turbines except micro-wind turbine can operate efficiently at the
wind speed condition below 5 m/s. The micro-wind turbine which operates in range of
2 m/s-7 m/s has optimal power coefficient of 18% which is quite low.F500 is the
only SSWT which has good overall efficiency value of 25%, but its rated wind speed
is 12 m/s. The current status of the SSWTs essentially emphasizes the lack of suitable
SSWT models that can operate near ground level at wind speeds of the order of few
meters per second.
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1.1 SUMMARY
This study presents the development of a small-scale, compact, portable and cost-
effective wind turbine for the house-hold appli-cations. The wind turbine will be
mounted near the ground-level where the typical wind speed is below 5 m/s. We
present the characteristics and performance of the first generation prototype termed as
SWEPT (Small Scale Wind Energy Portable Turbine). Using the wind-tunnel
experimentations, it was found that the SWPET has very low start-up speed of 2.7 m/s
and is capable of producing the electrical power up to 0.83W at the wind speed of 5
m/s. Its maximum coefficient of performance was found to be 14% at the optimal tip
speed ratio of 2.9. The overall efficiency of SWEPTs first generation prototype is
quite low and needs to be improved for the next generation prototypes by using
optimized blades and better generator.