Clarkson University Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Ken Visser and his students, continue to innovate and refine their ducted wind turbine design. They recently placed a second research turbine at Clarkson’s Wind Turbine Test Site near the airport to complement the campus unit on the TAC Building. (https://people.clarkson.edu/~kvisser/TACTurbine/)
“Our goal is to reduce the cost of the turbine and increase the energy output,” Visser said. “Using the metric of $/kWh ensures that the cost of increasing the energy output is more than offset by the energy harvesting gains.”
Ducted Wind Turbines, Inc. (DWT, www.ductedwind.com), a company formed by Visser is being used to raise capital for the project. Several investors have come forward and they have received a grant from NYSERDA and the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab. “Part of these monies are slated for research efforts at Clarkson,” according to Visser. His group has figured out how to reduce the cost of construction on items such as the duct and the rotors by a factor of 10. “We are now looking at new ways to make the blades for the turbines cheaper and better,” Visser said. “The TAC turbine has now been outfitted with five aluminum blades, instead of three carbon fiber, which should reduce the cost and improve performance.” Time will tell.
The company has secured a new building in Potsdam to do their commercial turbine construction and is working with the Department of Energy to develop turbines that can be commercialized. “We have orders for several turbines from individuals and companies across New York State, but we need to ensure the design is robust and safe before they are available to the commercial market,” he says.
The concept for the original turbine came out of Visser’s research and led to the incorporation of the company through the Shipley Center. Faculty, staff members, alumni, and many students have been involved in the work on the project to get to this point. The operation of the wind turbine will provide on-going opportunities for student research and design projects as well as a showcase for DWT.
DWT is a wind turbine company that focuses on providing the lowest cost per kilowatt-hour in the small turbine market in an effort to improve the quality of life on our planet. DWT’s design produces more than two times the energy of a conventional open bladed wind turbine of the same rotor diameter.