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Wind Power Systems

Wind is a force of nature familiar to every polar researcher. Although often perceived as something with which to contend, it also offers tremendous opportunities in the support of scientific research. Many polar locales are ideally suited for the use of wind turbines.

Icon: PDF Wind Power Systems White Paper (1.14 MB)

 To comment on this white paper, either join a discussion on our Wiki site or contact the author (Tracy Dahl, ) directly.

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) speed control

At the General Assembly of the European Geophysical Union held in Vienna, Austria, in April 2007, Mike Rose of the British Antarctic Survey presented the paper "Variable speed wind generator control in Antarctica."  Beginning with some tutorial information on wind generators, the paper presented an approach to controlling rotor speed to maximize power generation will also preventing the generator from entering a high speed runaway condition.  The PWM approach, also known as Electro-Dynamic Braking, is presented as being superior to resistive loading.  It is generic to many manufacturer models and it is readily scalable to wind generators of higher output. The heat generated by the shunt element can be used to heat a battery pack associated with the wind generator system, improving storage capacity.

The following images are extracted from that presentation, which Mike Rose has generously made available for downloading.

Icon: PDF M. Rose: Variable speed wind generator control in Antarctica (1.37 MB)

Power output vs. tip speed


PWM shunt regulator

Example of controller in operation. Panels are PWM %, current, voltage.

Result of PWM shunting

Your comments or contributions are welcome.  Please e-mail them to info@polarpower.org