Thursday, May 16, 2013

SASE to tap wind energy in snow-bound areas

by Vijay Mohan/TNS 
To cater to the energy requirements of the armed forces in remote snow-bound areas, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is exploring the potential of tapping wind power to generate energy.

While the Himalayan ridges are known for their high wind potential, accumulation of heavy snow and ice in that region is a critical factor that adversely affects sensitive structures and also jams moving parts in turbines.

Scientists at the Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE), a DRDO laboratory based here, said consequently unconventional technologies like non-rotating generators are being developed as an alternate to the traditional propeller-based wind turbine.

SASE has developed a laboratory model of a "wind belt", which uses the "flutter" or vibration of a magnetically activated strip to generate power through electromagnetic induction. The belt is attached at both ends inside a frame and the motion of the wind passing over it causes the flutter.

Earlier this year, a joint workshop was held here with the US Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, where technologies and methodologies to combat the challenges of unconventional power generation in snow bound regions were discussed.

Field trials of the wind belt are scheduled to be held in winters later this year. This technology is also being used in Hong Kong. Wind belts, scientists said, are more energy efficient that wind turbines and also more economical.

As a pilot project, a 10 MW wind turbine was installed by SASE at the Banihal Top in Jammu and Kashmir, at an altitude of over 3000 meters with wind speeds of up to 21 meters per second, to study the effects of snow and ice on the aerodynamics of wind turbines and rotatables. Low temperature and ice effects the physical properties of materials and lubricants damages electrical equipment, seals and rubber parts, cause aerodynamic imbalances and increased vibrations and jams movable parts.

India is estimated to have a wind power potential of 45,000 MW, with an installed capacity at present of just 18,425 MW. Close to 30 per cent of the potential lies in the hills. 

Syndicated from IndiaEnvironmentPortal

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