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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #108554


item Vick, Brian
item Clark, Ray

Submitted to: American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/1999
Publication Date: 6/30/2000
Citation: Vick, B.D., Clark, R.N., Ling, S., Starcher, K., Parpia, I. 2000. Development and testing of a 2-kilowatt wind turbine for water pumping. In: A Collection of 2000 ASME Wind Energy Symposium Technical Papers at 38th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, NV, AIAA Paper No. 2000-0071, pp 328-338.

Interpretive Summary: As most farmers and ranchers will tell you, water is one of the most important (if not the most important) resources they need to improve their crop or livestock production. Using wind energy to pump water from underground wells is not a new concept to U.S. farmers and ranchers since they have been doing this for over a century with windmills. Instead of using windmills to produce mechanical power to drive a piston pump, the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory uses wind turbines to generate 3-phase AC electricity which powers submersible motors which drive centrifugal pumps. These wind-electric systems require less maintenance than windmills and they also perform much better at moderate to high wind speeds than the windmills. A new 2-kilowatt wind-electric system was tested for pumping water at the USDA-ARS laboratory. For a simulated pumping depth of 100 ft, this wind-electric system was shown to begin pumping water at a wind speed of 11 mph and pump 21 gallons/minute at a wind speed of 21 mph. For a different motor/pump combination at a simulated pumping depth of 240 ft, this wind-electric system began pumping water again at 11 mph and reached a maximum flow rate of 9.2 gallons/minute at a wind speed of 27 mph. This testing was very important because the manufacturer of the wind-electric system learned he needed to modify his wind turbine design to keep the wind turbine from being damaged in high winds. The farmers and ranchers were benefitted by getting a more reliable water pumping system which was shown to have good water pumping performance at both a 100 ft and a 240 ft water well depths.

Technical Abstract: A 3-bladed 3.3 meter diameter upwind horizontal-axis wind turbine rated at 2 kilowatts (kW) for a wind speed of 11.5 meters/second (m/s) was tested at the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory from Feb. 2, 1999 to Oct. 11, 1999. The wind turbine achieved its 2 kW rating (sea level standard day conditions) at a wind speed between 11.5 and 12 m/s. Four different tails and two different yaw axis offsets were tested becaus the furling behavior of this wind turbine was critical to its success. Two different sets of blades with different pitch angles were also tested to determine the optimum pitch angle. The primary controller used during this testing was an ARS/AEI designed controller, but the manufacturer's controller was operated for a period of two weeks during July and performed well. Using a low head pump, a peak system efficiency of 12% was achieved at a simulated 30 m pumping depth. For a high head pump, a peak system efficiency of 8.5% was achieved at a simulated 73 m pumping depth. Both water pumping systems had a cut-in wind speed of 5 m/s.