A group project award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has been won by five engineering students from Robert Gordon University (RGU). The students were then given the opportunity to present research at an international conference in Berlin.
The £2,500 grant meant the students were able to attend the 2nd International Conference on Advances in Clean Energy Research, where they delivered their paper on a wind turbine design – winning ‘Best Presentation’ on the day.
For the successful project, Morven Shaw, Alasdair White, Craig Stout, Scott Arnott and Erald Kollovozi designed and built a small turbine, and by using deflectors to optimise the airflow, they were able to increase performance levels when they tested it at RGU’s wind tunnel facility.
The team worked on their project with RGU School of Engineering staff members, Dr Sheikh Islam, Dr Ghazi Droubi, Dr Yashwant Sinha and Dr Nadimul Faisal.
Morven commented: “We selected this project as there was a lack of research within this area of the renewable sector, as most studies have looked at horizontal axis rather than vertical axis wind turbines. This project aimed at developing a new turbine, for rooftop applications, with increased performance over similar designs.
“We feel that any advancement in the field of renewable energy is extremely beneficial to the current market.
“The applications of small devices, such as our turbine design, have applications in the form of small household power generation to urban environments. The turbine design was unique, with a novel aerofoils design used and with the research of deflector plates; two areas of study that can be further researched by future RGU students.
“We are extremely grateful to be given this opportunity are it allows us to demonstrate our work to experts in this field of study. Receiving feedback and recommendations will allow us to learn from the experience and expand our knowledge of engineering research and development.”
Dr Islam added: “The group investigated the efficiency improvement of a small vertical axis wind turbine using asymmetrical aerofoil blades and an upstream deflector. The computational modelling and experimental studies carried out by the group showed very promising initial results of significant improvement in turbine efficiency.
“The results showed an opportunity to further develop this idea to construct a prototype in future.”