Those attending Cleveland Indians home games this year will see more than just home-run balls in right field: A new innovative wind turbine design now sits atop the right-field stands.
The patented turbine design is the brainchild of Cleveland State University engineering professor Dr. Majid Rashidi. It consists of a cylindrical wind deflector having a helical shape with small-scale turbines on its sides. The point of the helical shape is to better funnel wind into the turbine blades such that they will produce power with slight breezes that wouldn't budge the blades of ordinary turbines. Rashidi says the unit can begin generating power with breezes under 6 mph.
The four turbines mounted on the sides of the wind deflector are off-the-shelf 1.6-kW Swift units from Cascade Engineering, Grand Rapids, Mich. To handle super-high winds, the whole cylindrical assembly is built to rotate. When winds get too high, the deflector rotates to line up the turbine profiles parallel with the wind.
The turbines are essentially noiseless, says Rashidi, thanks to dispersion rings around the periphery of the turbine that the break up vortices traveling down the blades.
The capacity factor for the new turbine has yet to be determined. However, an even-rougher prototype on the CSU campus, with a less optimized wind deflector, demonstrated a capacity factor of as high as 60%.
Rashidi hopes the experimental turbine system eventually leads to an economical and commercially viable alternative to stand-alone turbines and other traditional power sources. He says the materials used for the deflector are relatively inexpensive plastic and metal.
Indeed, the turbine's location at the Indians ballpark home is mainly a demonstration and a symbol of the ballpark's sustainability goals, say ballpark officials. The electricity the turbine generates is routed to the ballpark electrical system, but it is insignificant compared to the 1.8 M k-Wh of power the park uses in a year.
Cleveland State University: http://www.csuohio.edu/engineering/wind/
Cleveland Indians sustainability: http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/cle/community/green.jsp