EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ Wyle is working with the U.S. Navy on an environmentally friendly energy conservation project by performing a test and evaluation proof of concept effort that uses small wind turbine power as an alternative, renewable power source for use on military installations.
Wyle is conducting the project in collaboration with the Navy's Public Works Utilities Division at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Patuxent River was chosen as the proof of concept site because it has relatively moderate wind speeds, active flight operations and associated electromagnetic environment.
Testing began in early March with a Helix Wind S322 small vertical axis wind turbine. It will be used to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of a small turbine on an operating military installation to power remote instrumentation or small facilities that would otherwise be powered by a diesel generator or the electrical grid.
The wind turbine, nicknamed "Windy," was assembled and tested in Wyle's test laboratory wind tunnels in Huntsville, Ala. prior to being transported to Maryland and mounted on a five-ton field trailer. The savonius, or spiral, vertical axis design of the turbine was selected because of its suitability with the naval air station's wind speeds and flight lines, allowing it to catch wind from any direction.
"Wyle is focusing on small wind energy because it is one of the fastest growing forms of electricity generation," said Pam Barber-Mills, Wyle's project manager. "It is a clean, sustainable and renewable energy resource with the potential to produce a larger percentage of the nation's energy in the future."
Designed to be a one to two-year effort, the project will measure metrics including the offset of energy demands from the grid, carbon dioxide offsets, site analyses, system design reliability, wind speeds and radar interference.
"Larger wind rotor turbines have been shown to interfere with radar systems on military installations making smaller turbines like Windy an effective alternative," said Barber-Mills.
While a typical horizontal axis wind turbine creates false readings on radar systems and bird strikes, vertical axis wind turbines reduce or eliminate these problems and provide for closer spacing of units to increase power density per unit of area.
According to Karl Bryan, energy manager for Patuxent River Public Works Utilities and Energy Management Branch, preliminary modeling design by Patuxent River's Range Directorate indicates that smaller turbines have no discernable impact on radar, falling into the "clutter band" shared by wildlife.
Data from the testing of the 2.5 kilowatt turbine will be reported to Patuxent River Public Work Utilities and Energy Management Branch and other agencies via the Defense Technical Information Center database. Once the center has the information and findings, it can be used for analysis by government agencies making decisions concerning small vertical axis wind turbines and other alternative energy resources.
Wyle's research and test engineers are assisting the government with efforts such as this to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and help facilitate advancements towards renewable energy sources such as, solar-thermal and photovoltaic, geothermal, wave/ocean energy, biofuel and wind technologies.
Wyle, a privately held company, is a provider of high tech aerospace engineering and information technology services to the federal government on long-term support contracts. The company also provides test and evaluation of aircraft, weapon systems, networks, and other government assets; and engineering services to the aerospace, defense, and nuclear power industries.