Optimization of Small Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbines for Use in Developing Countries Using an Evolutionary Algorithm

Faculty Sponsor

Pete Johnson




Department of Mechanical Engineering

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-31-2014


The purpose of this research is to optimize the design of small scale horizontal-axis wind turbines for use in developing countries by utilizing an evolutionary algorithm. This project differs from previous work in that it seeks to optimize the turbine design more holistically by including a more in-depth blade design, the number of blades, and the alternator in the optimization. The blade element momentum theory and the necessary electrical and mechanical models will be used to determine the performance of the designs within the algorithm. The expected results of this research are to generate wind turbine designs that are better suited to the power usage and weather patterns in developing countries.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Brian Leege is a senior mechanical engineering student at Valparaiso University and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in May 2015. He has conducted research with the Valparaiso University College of Engineering for two consecutive summers working on projects including the design of a supersonic nozzle for use in lab experiments, the design and installation of an array of photovoltaic panels, as well as the design and installation of a small wind turbine. After graduation, Brian plans to attend graduate school for further study in the thermal sciences.

Pete Johnson is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Valparaiso University in the College of Engineering. He has previous experience in computational fluid dynamics as well as with evolutionary algorithms.

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