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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Performance and Economic Comparison of a Mechanical Windmill to a Wind-Electric Water Pumping System

Authors
item Vick, Brian
item Clark, Ray

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 11, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: At a simulated 30-m pumping depth, the water pumping performance of a mechanical windmill using two different size piston pumps was compared to two wind-electric water pumping systems. The mechanical windmill had a rotor diameter of 2.44 m and reached a maximum of 32 strokes/minute at a 9 m/s wind speed. The inside diameters of the piston pumps tested on the mechanical windmill were 4.8 cm and 7 cm -- the stroke length on both was 19 cm. The wind turbine on one of the wind-electric systems had a rotor diameter of 2.44 m and was connected to a 0.38 kW 3-phase 230V AC submersible motor via a USDA-ARS designed wind turbine smart controller. The wind turbine on the other wind-electric system had a rotor diameter of 2.74 m and was connected to a 0.75 kW 3-phase 230V AC submersible motor via a controller supplied by the manufacturer. Both wind-electric systems used a 0.38 kW 9-stage centrifugal pump. At a hub height of 10 m, the wind-electric systems pumped more water than the mechanical systems in the winter and spring (highest average wind speed months), but pumped less water in the summer and fall (lowest average wind speed months). However, if the wind turbines were on 20 m towers and the windmills were on 10 m towers, then the wind-electric systems would pump as much or more water than the mechanical systems during every month of the year if the wind regime was similar to that of Bushland, TX. Even when the cost of a 20 m tower for a wind-electric system was included, the total system cost for a wind-electric system was $1282 to $1414 cheaper than it would be for a new mechanical windmill system (a 25% cost reduction). The maintenance required on a wind-electric system should also be less than that for a mechanical windmill.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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