Shaped Modern Buildings May Mount Own Wind Turbines

A European consortium has designed a system for incorporating wind turbines into buildings that are shaped to concentrate wind flow.

LONDON, England, UK, 2002-01-08 [SolarAccess.com] The BDSP Partnership, University of Stuttgart , MECAL, Imperial College London and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory were funded by the European Commission to develop the project. “Interest is now focusing on huge offshore windfarms and also the highly engineered integration of turbines into the urban environment,” say officials from BDSP. “Urban traffic noise would mask most acoustic emissions from the turbines and generating power close to the point of use could eliminate the need for, visual intrusion of, and the costs of long distance power supply infrastructure.” The project has developed wind enhancement and integration techniques (using Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling) to design the best building forms to concentrate lower wind speeds of 2 to 5 metres per second annual average, and to increase the annual energy yield per installation for a given site and wind regime. The techniques have been validated and the concentrator design optimized from numerous small-scale model testing in a wind tunnel. A near scale turbine/concentrator design prototype of 2 m rotor diameter, was constructed on the European Energy Research Unit Test Site and tested with both a horizontal and vertical axis wind turbine. Vibration and noise measurement were made for each configuration. The design uses twin building towers with an aerodynamic shape. Testing of a large prototype suggests that placement of three turbines vertically between the building towers would double the production of stand-alone turbines and could provide at least one quarter of the building’s electricity requirements. BDSP says the potential is considerable since 80 percent of Europeans live in urban areas. It has been appointed by the European Commission to do follow-up research and develop a handbook on how to integrate wind turbines into the built environment.

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