ViGYAN Wind Tunnel Expedites MAGENN Development
Magenn Power Inc., an Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-based company, has created the Magenn Air Rotor System, or MARS, an inexpensive, lighter-than-air, tethered wind turbine that generates electrical energy by rotating about a horizontal axis in response to active airflow at 600 to 1,000 feet in altitude. Electricity would be funneled down the MARS tether for immediate use, or sent to and stored in a set of batteries.
Because MARS would float well above ground-generated atmospheric disturbances and varying topographies, the turbine would benefit from cleaner, more consistent and faster air, thus producing more power than a ground-based unit.
The turbine's blimp-like design lets it operate in winds as low as two miles per hour. In the event of collision, the inflatable, inert and non-flammable helium-filled structure would fall slowly and harmlessly to the ground. MARS floats below legally usable airspace and therefore poses no danger to airplanes. And birds are less likely to be imperiled because the turbine's moving parts are visible and travel with the wind, not perpendicular to it.
Magenn brought MARS models to ViGYAN for a series of three tests --- in summer 2007, January 2008 and August through December 2008 --- in ViGYAN's Low Speed Wind Tunnel. The Tunnel has recently undergone a major renovation of its model-support, electronics, and data-acquisition systems. The Tunnel's state-of-the-art, automated systems provide excellent force and moment, pressure and flow-visualization capabilities.
The ViGYAN Tunnel tests assessed the turbine's lift, drag and torque in order to determine the power output. These studies have been instrumental in developing and refining the MARS configuration to produce higher power-generating efficiencies.
As a result of the ViGYAN Tunnel tests, Magenn has modified and significantly improved its combinations of shape, number and size of MARS turbine vanes that may be incorporated within a full-size MARS prototype.
When operational, MARS could be deployed as a source of electrical power for remote, rural regions and isolated farms, and as a rapid-response solution at disaster sites to power emergency equipment. MARS could also be used for on-grid applications, such as backup power and to insure the continuous operation of water pumps, and as a vital constituent of terrestrial wind farms.