Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Using Small Wind Turbines in Underground Mines

In underground mines, it has been recognized that there is a requirement for an independent battery charging system other than the AC power source that can be used in case of emergency since the radios located through the underground mines can’t stay charged for sufficient periods to insure the safety of trapped mineworkers.

Since it was a necessity to always have air distributed throughout the mine in order to supply oxygen and remove unwanted gases, it was suggested to use this air (wasted energy) to charge the batteries using small wind turbines that can be installed in the path of moving air that is forced into the underground mine.

It was necessary to determine the feasibility of the idea of using small wind turbines that are placed in the airflow path to charge batteries especially since the airflow will not be much variant. It was found that it was feasible and a numerical model was developed utilizing Blade Element Momentum theory to produce optimal battery charging system to aid in case of emergency mine communications.

The power requirements to charge the batteries were 4 Watts and several rotor configurations have been found to produce the amount of power required. However, due to safety issues and structural concerns in an underground mine, the required wind turbine should be designed and shielded to protect mine workers. It was possible to provide the structural protection with the use of a diffuser shroud which also helped in increasing the power output of the wind turbine system.

Results from the model and the physical parameters needed to efficiently design a wind turbine system for underground mines was addressed by this thesis and has been published in this book: Feasibility and optimum design study of a low speed wind turbine rotor system for underground communication power.

Solar Air-Conditioning: Solar Case Study

This solar air conditioning case study pertains to the sizing of an indoor solar conditioning system that uses an absorption chiller unit operating with water and lithium bromide (Li Br) for a hypothetical 3 bedroom Villa or house.

Hypothetical Villa Solar Air-Conditioning Case Study

Input Data for Sizing:

Climate data for the calculation of solar radiation related to a selected hot climate city. The data relates to a hypothetical two-family dwelling (or large apartment) and to the building’s energy performance as assumed below.

Indoor conditioned volume    562,5 [m3]
Net surface area    187,5 [m2]
Maximum heat loss    100 [kWh/day]

Month Average daily
air temperature
Average daily
cooling demand
January 20.7 54
February 20.6 53
March 22.3 59
April 25.8 71
May 30.1 86
June 32.2 93
July 33.6 98
August 34.2 100
September 32.9 96
October 30.2 86
November 26.8 75
December 23.2 62

Design Stage for Solar Air-Conditioning Case Study:

The sizing calculations of the absorption chiller and the solar field was determined taking into account a daily design energy demand due to heat loss of approximately 100 kWh.

Electronic Wind Speed Meter

There are a lot of electronic wind speed meters on the market, however; the Davis Turbo Electronic Wind Speed Meter measures wind speed and provides maximum sensitivity and accuracy for your convenience which is vital for your wind turbine site. The unit measures wind speed from 0 - 99.9 mph . The turbine rotation is sensed by an infrared light beam which adds no friction to your reading and gives you the accuracy you desire.

Advanced Control System for Wind Turbine

Variable speed drives in modern wind turbines are used to maximize wind turbine efficiency when the turbine is running below rated power and to reduce loading on the drive-train.

In addition, there is something called a pitch control of the blades which is usually used to limit the energy captured when the turbine is operation above rated wind speed.

The benefits of a more complex variable-speed drive, variable-pitch control of wind turbines is offset by control flexibility. That is, higher efficiency, better power quality, in addition to a longer useful life of the wind turbine.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Area Required for Solar Air Conditioning

Main Equipments Required for Solar Air Conditioning

As you can see from the above image and from the previous post how solar air conditioning works, there are certain things you need to account for to see if your building will be able to accommodate the solar air conditioning equipment such as:

Roof Area Required for Panel Installation on Roof:

Harvesting solar energy via solar thermal panels that is used to feed hot water to the absorption chiller requires a lot of space on the roof or open space. This is not like thermal panels for water heating where 40 Deg C will be sufficient for a shower. The absorption chiller requires input temperature of around 80 Deg C and above for it to operate efficiently and you would get a 6 Deg C chilled water output.

Before Considering Solar Air Conditioning

Talking about solar air conditioning and its advantages is great. However, there are certain considerations that you have to think about before considering installation of a solar air conditioning. After all, you may not need to spend that much money to buy a solar air conditioner.

For argument sake, take an existing 4 story building as your model since the rate of return on initial investment is faster compared to a single story building and assume your area is a hot climate with average temperature 35 deg C.

With such temperature, your building would act as a heat radiating furnace! Surprised I believe? Definitely, your existing building absorbs heat during the day and in turn you switch on your conventional air conditioner in order to bring the temperature down. Why? 

The building was never designed to be energy efficient from the first place and you spend your money on cooling to stay comfortable.

If this is the case in your building, then installing a solar air conditioner for cooling the building is worthless and you would be throwing your money away! What should you do?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Solar Air Conditioning – How Solar Air Conditioning Works?

Before talking about how solar air conditioning and solar cooling works, one must have some basic information about passive solar water heating. The passive solar water heating basically uses a pump for circulating heated liquid in solar collectors. The heated liquid is then used for solar air conditioning and cooling using Lithium Bromide (Li-Br) absorption chillers.

To make it easy on you to understand how solar air conditioning and cooling works, an illustrative diagram is shown below to explain the process for passive solar water heating. An explanation will follow on how to get solar air conditioning results. i.e., Absorption chillers use heat for cooling.
Passive Solar Water Heating - Forced Circulation
The diagram above shows a passive (forced circulation) system that uses a number of solar collector plates (or can be vacuum tubes) to harvest free energy from sun rays.

A liquid absorbent (Glycol or water) transfers heat from the solar thermal collector panels. A pump forces

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lebanon's Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

The first phase of a homemade prototype Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) that was constructed in Lebanon. It stands near 6 meters high (~19.68 feet ). Made of no more than galvanized sheets welded together, galvanized water pipes and a few self lubricated bearings.
 Homemade Helical Twist (VAWT)


In September 2009 I have moved back to Bayssour-Lebanon to settle and live their permanently with my family after being away working in the Arabian Gulf most of my life. Empowered with a university degree from the University of Arizona in Electrical Engineering and 15+ years of diversified  and extensive experience in the electrical field. I found myself in a new community that lacks continuous electrical power due to power rational which was the result of the more than 15 years of civil war.