Small wind turbines must be more efficient to 'harness potential'
A new project is underway to improve the performance of small wind turbines, which are not currently as efficient as larger wind turbines.
Carried out by an EU research consortium spearheaded by UK based manufacturer GenDrive, the project called Optiwind, will seek to optimise the inverter, which converts energy into mains electricity.
Although small wind turbines (less than 50kW) are beginning to play a significant role in the drive towards renewable electricity generation and are now being deployed on domestic, commercial and agricultural premises. Given the relative infancy of the industry their output has yet to be optimised, according to GenDrive.
GenDrive's Nigel Jakeman said: "As an industry we can do so much more to improve the economics of small wind turbines. We need to move away from simple control structures more suited to solar power to something much more intelligent and dynamic to fully harness the potential of wind."
The research consortium will focus on making significant performance improvements to the small turbine in order to maximise energy yield.
Alongside GenDrive, other research partners for the programme are The UK Intelligent Systems Research Institute and the Fundacion Tecnalia Research & Innovation of Spain.
Last month, small wind turbines took a step forward in the development process after green energy company Ecotricity announced that it was carrying out final tests on a micro wind turbine which it claims could be 40% more efficient than similar sized turbines on the market.