Rurerg NTUA (Greece): A summary of activities in 2013
Posted on February 2, 2014 by Kostas
Rural Electrification Research Group: Activities carried out in 2013
The Rural Electrification Research Group (RURERG) is part of ‘Smart RUE’ (Smart grids Research Unit of the Electrical and Computer Engineering School) of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece. The main research areas of the group are Hardware-in-the-Loop simulations for rural electrification and Open Source Hardware design, simulation and construction of renewable energy microgeneration sources, with an emphasis on small wind and hydro turbines.
During 2013, the Rural Electrification Research Group has been involved in different projects:
Student construction workshops of small wind turbines: A Ferrite magnet axial flux generator was constructed for a set of 2.4m rotor blades, in order to assist in the comparison between different magnetic materials, such as Ferrite and Neodymium, used in locally manufactured axial flux small wind turbines. This construction workshop was part of Katerina’s dissertation thesis, a final year student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department of NTUA.
Installation of new small wind turbine test site in Rafina: The test site is situated 45min from the center of Athens, next to the sea, at a very windy spot. Turbines from 1.2m to 7.6m meters in rotor diameter can be tested, for battery charging or grid connection, according to standard IEC 61400-12-1: Power Performance Measurements of electricity producing wind turbines. Metereological data such as wind speed, wind direction, humidity, ambient temperature and air pressure are logged and averaged every minute, along with electrical data such as voltages and currents of the small wind turbine under test. Currently a 2.4m wind turbine, manufactured locally according to the ‘Wind turbine recipe book’ of Hugh Piggott, is being tested for charging a 48V battery.
DERri transnational access projects: Jon Sumanik-Leary (E-Futures Doctoral Training Centre, University of Sheffield, UK), Kimon Silwal of KAPEG (Kathmandu Alternative Power and Energy Group, Nepal) and Tom Wastling of EWB-Sheffield (Engineers Without Borders Sheffield, UK) visited NTUA and the research group in September 2013 in order to perform test on locally manufactured small wind turbines, under the DERri EU program. The main activities of the project were comparing neodymium with ferrite as the magnetic materials in an axial flux generator by bench testing and also conducting filed tests of a small wind turbine in order to produce a power curve and also to compare simple testing techniques that can be conducted in the field with only basic tools (multimeter, spanner, timer etc.) with those that can be conducted in the laboratory.
Survey on the construction and operation of locally manufactured small wind turbines: This survey was addressed to users, constructors and designers of locally manufactured small wind turbines. The main goals of the survey were on the one hand a social mapping of the network of people involved with these small wind turbines and on the other hand a creation of a technical pool of collective knowledge on the operation and maintenance of the turbines in question. The survey has been answered by 30 participants so far, yet it is still open for participation. Results can be seen at www.rurerg.net.
Open source software tools for small wind turbine design and monitoring: During the past year two software tools have reached completion. First the “Wind Turbine Performance Data Analysis Tool” which is a data base calculation and visualization software for small wind turbine testing according to IEC 61400-12-1. Second is the “WindSYS Wind Turbine – Battery System Simulator”, which enables the user to choose the appropriate cable size for connecting a small wind turbine to a battery bank while maximizing the annual energy production. The tool provides information such as the expected power curve up to 10m/s for any given distance to the battery bank and any small wind turbine described in Hugh Piggott’s ‘Recipe book’, with rotor diameters ranging from 1.2m to 4.2m. Both programs will be online during the first months of 2014.
Planned activities for 2014
The rural electrification research group will continue with publications in English of the work done so far in the lab and with more undergraduate student dissertations. Work will focus on pico hydro generators and small wind turbine desing tools.