Published on October 15th, 2009 | by Derek Markham1
New Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Developed by Blackhawk Uses Tilt Rotor Technology
The people behind Blackhawk helicopters are now testing an innovative new vertical axis wind turbine, using tilt rotor technology and positioning the airfoil blades parallel to the ground. The Blackhawk Tilt Rotor VAWT/AR TR-10 will allow the average user to generate up to 1.5 kilowatts of wind power, with much lower, self-starting speeds than other wind systems, allowing it to make clean energy at times when other wind power systems are idle.
The new design can start in winds as light as 7 mph, compared to typical wind speeds of 12 to 15 mph needed by other systems. According to Blackhawk, the new system is the first real innovation in vertical axis wind turbine design since the Darrieus design in 1931. The VAWT/AR TR-10 uses the same type of tilt rotor system that changes the pitch of the blades on helicopter rotors, using push and pull rods, but without any of the complicated electronic control systems.
The system’s dampened Articulating Rotor allows the entire turbine to lean into the wind to generate higher torque at lower RPMs, generating greater amounts of power even as the wind speed varies. Elastomeric bands, described as high-tech rubber bands, and push/pull rods, are attached to the turbine’s airfoils to help protect the turbine from storm damage. Together, the system’s features have successfully allowed the turbine to function in wind speeds as high as 101 mph.
The company says the system is a low-cost, low-maintenance alternative to horizontal axis residential turbines currently on the market. The entire turbine fits in the back of a pickup and only takes three hours to install. The VAWT/AR TR-10 has a 10-foot diameter, making it a real contender in the small-turbine industry, targeted for farms, shops and homes in rural and semirural areas.
The TR-10 is currently being tested at an installation at the Idaho National Laboratories Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES).