University of Vermont

Students on the Lawn

Wind Research and Finishing PV reports

by Ryan Darlow '12, UVM Clean Energy Fund Intern


The PV reports are almost complete. Over the last two weeks most of my time working has been on my own, and along with Jack and Rich, I have helped complete about 80% of the PV reports. In addition to completing these reports, I updated the index spreadsheet that lists all the buildings and parking lots so that it reflects the latest data. By either the end of next week or middle of the one after all of the PV draft reports should be complete.  This will allow us to move on and focus on our individual studies of other technologies. As I explained last week I am investigating potential models of wind turbines for installation on campus. I am only focusing on lift based wind turbines since drag turbines are generally less efficient.

                There are two main types of lift wind turbines those which spin around a horizontal axis (HAWT) and those which spin around a vertical axis (VAWT). Generally for large scale production it has been found that HAWTs are more efficient and have become the standard. However for small scale their efficiencies are approximately equal and the benefits of a VAWT are significantly greater. For instance most VAWTs have the gearing and generator on the ground rather than a nacelle atop the tower. This reduces the cost and difficulty of maintenance. VAWTs are generally quieter due to their more consistent loading and minimized induced drag. They are often considered safer for birds than HAWTs due to their smaller swept area. As a result I created a list of five HAWTs and five VAWTs which I will compare once I receive a wind map from CHA. After completing my research on wind turbines, I wrote a technology summary which I submitted to Jim A. (CHA Burlington office) for review.  

                While I already have significant background knowledge in wind power, this research has been a nice opportunity to learn something new. I have a purely academic background of wind turbines, and it is nice to learn some of the “real world” practical aspects of them as well. For instance many if not all wind turbines cannot be purchased from the manufacturers. Instead there are authorized dealers that customers must purchase them through, and these dealers will help with some of the technical aspects of the purchase such as shipping, installation, and incentives. Also it was nice to learn how many models of small wind turbines are out there, and that my list barely scratches the surface. Additionally in meetings, I have been able to learn some about the technologies that Jack and Rich are researching. I hope that in the next week I will learn more details about these technologies as we move forward in the project.