Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Wind Turbine Replacement Blades

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. James Ferguson


Our goal in this project is to design a replacement blade for the 100kW Kenetech wind turbines. These turbines have a 30 meter rotor and are on 60 foot or 80 foot lattice towers. The originally designed blades are composed of Glass-Reinforces Plastic (fiberglass) with balsa wood supports. The majority of these 900 turbines have been installed for 20 years in the Altamont pass near Tracy, California. While these blades are reaching the end of their useful life, the turbines continue to perform extraordinarily well. To replace the blades with new blades using the original design would be costly and unreasonable due to the lessened life of the current turbines. By designing a less expensive and lower maintenance blade we can restore the feasibility of blade replacement and increase the overall lifetime of these turbines. Research shows the shell of the airfoil of a hybrid design turbine blade made with currently used fiberglass intertwined with plastic materials at points of blade with lower stresses. Sections of turbine blade with plastic lower cost in materials and reduce production time due to quicker manufacturing processes of those parts of the blade. Finite analysis and air turbine blade software WT_Perf were used as methods of final design. Though prototyping and testing are not within the scope of the project, Preliminary testing devices for stress and strain will be considered.