Link via Control Engineering
“The simpler it is to make, the less likely it is to break,” Easton said. “We used SolidWorks to design a simply constructed and aesthetically pleasing turbine that can fit into a residential or small business area.” The MicroWind turbine produces around 50 to 75 percent of the electricity an average home uses in a year.
Scottish residential turbine developer Windsave, another SolidWorks user, is developing a similar small turbine that homeowners can bolt onto their house. Like MicroWind’s, the Windsave turbine is designed for efficient, quiet, and vibration-free operation.
Magenn approaches the issue of fickle winds from a different angle. Instead of waiting for wind to come to it, Magenn’s MARS (Magenn Air Rotor System) turbine goes to the wind. It is a 50-x-120-foot lighter-than-air device that floats 600 to 1,000 feet above the ground to catch the jet stream currents present almost everywhere. MARS rotates to generate up to 100 kilowatts per hour, then feeds it down a tether to a grid or a battery array.
“Traditional fixed turbines work in 15 percent of the world. We’re the solution for the other 85 percent,” said Mac Brown, Magenn’s chief operating officer. “SolidWorks helps us experiment with different turbine configurations, compare their power outputs, and save thousands that we used to spend on outsourced simulation work.”
In addition to its popularity with emerging wind power companies, SolidWorks has a strong presence with established wind technology companies. Dutch offshore turbine developer Darwind is using SolidWorks to design offshore wind turbines with a patented magnet configuration that reduces up-front and maintenance costs. The British division of Ramboll Oil & Gas has used SolidWorks to design the foundations that support half of the world’s offshore wind power capacity.