Trevino, Alexis (2018-05). Modular Micro-Wind Turbine for Providing Power to Train Sensing Systems. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • The proposed work involves developing a wind turbine system that charges batteries to provide required power of sensing and communication systems, while railroad operates at expected operating conditions. For this project, a 50 mph wind and 50 watts power requirement is assumed. Taking into account inefficiencies and parasitic losses in the wind turbine and electrical system, a blade diameter of 7 inches is calculated to be necessary for this application. Since off the shelf wind turbines are not designed for this specification, it is necessary to design the most efficient blade shape for this application while also taking into account the electrical charging system power requirements. For a constant wind speed, a wind turbine blade has a characteristic torque (or power) vs angular velocity curve, that is dependent on the angle of twist and chord length distribution, hub and overall radius, and airfoil of the blade. Similarly, the electrical system has a characteristic torque vs angular velocity (power vs angular velocity) curve that is dependent on the state of charge of the battery. The design approach used in this project was to create several wind turbine blade and electrical system characteristic power curves. Next, the intersection between wind turbine blade and electrical characteristic curve that yields the highest power transfer is used to choose a wind turbine blade shape. The objective of this work is to develop a battery charging system along with an optimized wind turbine blade that provides the highest power transfer to the battery; manufacture the blade with close dimensional agreement; and test on a wind tunnel to compare theoretical and experimental torque, power, and efficiency curves as well as charging of battery.

publication date

  • May 2018