Small Wind Turbine Development
NREL supports continued market expansion of small wind turbines by funding manufacturers through competitive solicitations (i.e., subcontracts and/or grants) to refine prototype systems leading to commercialization. Learn more about the turbine development projects below.
NREL installed and tested an early prototype of this turbine at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) in 2003-2004. Southwest Windpower was developing its 1-2 kW turbine, scheduled for market entry in early 2004. Testing included power performance, safety and function, noise, and partial loads tests. Although testing is complete, NREL continues to operate a Skystream 3.7 wind turbine (2.4 kW, 3.7-m rotor, direct-drive with power converter integrated into the nacelle).
The U.S. Department of Energy/Golden Field Office awarded a grant to Windward Engineering to develop an overspeed control system. From this research, the Endurance S-250 wind turbine emerged. It is a 5.5-m rotor, constant-speed with induction generator and gearbox. In 2006, a suite of IEC-compliant tests were conducted at NREL: power performance, acoustics, safety and function, and duration. Windward Engineering teamed with outside investors and business experts to form Endurance Wind Power in 2007.
Through an NREL subcontract, NREL completed certification testing and design evaluation on the Northwind 100A.
Contact: Ian Baring-Gould
The U.S. Department of Energy/Golden Field Office awarded a cooperative agreement to Northern Power Systems to help develop a new Northwind 100B wind turbine. NREL provided testing support in 2008 for the turbine development. It has a 21-m rotor with a 36-m "soft" tower, direct-drive with power converter integrated into the nacelle. Measurements include: modal frequencies, tower and rotor loads, power performance, acoustics, and power quality. NREL has also used the turbine as a test bed for advanced data acquisition systems.
NREL installed the AOC 15/50 in the 1990s as a prototype developed under DOE/NREL subcontract and as part of the initial establishment of the NWTC to show current wind turbine technology, obtain operating data on a modern wind turbine, and to conduct testing in support of Atlantic Orient Corporation's efforts to certify the turbine. The AOC 15/50 was used in the International Energy Agency project, Round Robin Testing of Wind Turbines. NREL has completed certification testing and design evaluation on the AOC 15/50.
Contact: Hal Link