A Novel Blade-Pitching Mechanism Design and Testing for Micro Vertical-Axis Water Turbines

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Shakil R. Sheikh, Dr.
Zafar U Koreshi, Dr.
Umar Rauf
Shahid Khalil, Dr.
Umair Aziz


This paper deals with improving the power output of a vertical-axis water turbine by controlling blade pitch-angle. During turbine rotation, the angle-of-attack of the blades varies at each azimuthal location due to constantly changing relative velocity. In the case of the H-rotor vertical-axis water turbines, the output torque is lift-dependent. The constantly changing angle-of-attack results in sub-optimal lift generation. Hence, the output torque (or the turbine power output) is compromised. This script introduces a novel design for controlling the turbine blade pitch-angle. The new design increases the overall lift-force produced by each blade during each azimuthal rotation cycle.  The design incorporates a novel sun-planetary gear mechanism to control the blade pitch-angle continuously, to maintain a constant pre-set angle, with the incoming flow velocity. This improves the blade angle-of-attack by limiting angle variation to ±90o from the ±180o variation experienced by fixed blade turbines, during its rotation cycle. This results in better lift generation. The experimental results show that the proposed design substantially increases the amount of flow kinetic-energy harvested by the turbine, providing up to a 38.5% increase in turbine power output.

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Author Biography

Zafar U Koreshi, Dr., Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Air University, Islamabad.

Dr. Zafar Ullah Koreshi is currently a Professor at Air University, Islamabad. His educational qualifications include B.Sc. (Hons), Nuc. Engg. (Queen Mary College, University of London, U.K), M.S., Nuc. Engg. (University of Wisconsin, Madison, U.S.A), Ph.D. Nuc. Engg. (University of Cambridge, Cambridge U.K). His research work has been in Monte Carlo simulation for neutron transport with applications in nuclear systems, in the mechanical engineering area, his interest lies in process simulation with applications in solar thermal energy storage for small power plants, and more recently in the optimal control of mobile robots. He has extensive experience in Academia including various senior administrative positions.