Breezy 5.5, A Reliable 5500 Watt Homebuilt Wind Turbine Generator.
Breezy 5.5is our home-built 5.5-kilowatt wind turbine generator. Connected to the home power circuits, it provides power just like the electric company. When the generator is producing more power then we’re using the excess flows through a meter and onto the power grid. Yes, they are required to pay us for it.
An induction-motor generator like this must be connected to the power company to work. A source voltage is required to excite the stator in the motor. If there is a loss of incoming power the generator will stop producing and shut down (lineman love this feature). Unless we provide some other means to emulate incoming power this design will not allow us to operate in a stand-alone situation.
Idle Monsters:We’ve seen them there standing idle on the backside of a property. What happened to these generators? The plain and simple answer, cost and maintenance soon took the advantages away. Most of these generators built in the 70’s and early 80’s had initial costs from $15,000 to $40,000. They were 5- 25-kilowatt systems that were difficult and expensive to keep running. With complicated blade and pitch systems costing $5 to $6 thousand dollars to replace it didn‘t take many failures to sour even the diehards. They were also laden with specialized components that could only be obtained through the original manufacturer at very high prices. Often times these manufactures went out of business within a short time.
Simplify: Spending 200 times more on blades for a 5 to 7 percent performance increase doesn’t make much sense to me and probably not you either. We’ve come back to a more straightforward approach, build a simple efficient blade based on a proven engineered airfoil. Design a system large enough to offset the utility bill, that could be built as a home project made with off-the-shelf components so that it can be maintained without breaking the bank. We realize that we won’t be producing in a 3-4 mph breeze but we will at 8 mph and with the lift/drag characteristics of the blade design we’re still in the game with wind of 50 to 60 mph. In fact in a recent straight-line wind of 70mph, Breezy 5.5 didn’t shut down, didn’t quit, didn’t break, it just kept on generating power.
Maintenance: Keeping a turbine generator running shouldn’t have to be a second job. By the eliminating major sources of failure (blade pitch controls) we’ve made leaps in reliability. Incorporating a gin-pole in the support structure the 6 month check-up is a snap.