Renewable Energy

A major part of Product Design is renewable energy. I’m sure everyones heard about it, but I don’t think it’s quite hit people just how important it is. Did you know we’ve already hit peak oil? This means that the depletion of oil is irreversible and that means prices have nowhere to go but up. So average people won’t be able to afford such luxuries and will be dependant on alternative energy. It’s about time we tried to tackle this problem.

So we’ve been asked to build our own wind turbines. Wind power seems the most practical given the facilities we have. We were able to test our designs in the wind tunnel allowing us to find the most efficient design. We looked at everything; number of blades, blade length, width, angle, shape, tower height. Everything! All these factors make a huge difference. It’s incredibly difficult to come up with a design that’s better or even as good as commercial wind turbines! After all, some of the best engineers around designed those things!

We found the best number of blades is three. It keeps the turbine stable while keeping costs down. The best angle is generally 10° as this is enough to overcome the initial inertia and allows the turbine to accelerate to a nice steady pace.

I have to say this course has turned out to be quite an eye opener!


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