Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wind Turbine Project Part 12: Anna and the Alternator

Engineers with a Mission, the student organization turned non-profit that I co-lead/sponsor/promote, is back in the saddle with their wind turbine project for the World Hunger Relief Farm. Last weekend a team went out to begin rebuilding the guy wires on the tower, and the wooden blades are now carved. The alternator team is preparing for the final assembly of the permanent magnet alternator (PMA). Below is a picture of one of our long-term student leaders, Anna, using a pneumatic sander to smooth out part of the alternator. The part is called the "stator" and it contains a dozen or so coils of wire, each with about 100 loops. They are all wired together and embedded in a fiberglass resin, which she is working on. We also had two "rotors" which are also bound in fiberglass, but instead of coils, they contain some incredibly strong magnets. In fact, they were so strong that at one point we accidentally got them stuck to the steel table. I could not get them off or even get them to slide, and I am not what they call "tiny". We ended up prying up the corner with a screwdriver and sliding non-magnetic shims in the crack to get it loose!

Anna had the opportunity to live and work at the World Hunger Relief Farm this summer. I found a video about them made by a local news group focusing on non-profit organizations. In the video you will see a little house called the Nicaragua House at 1 minute 11 seconds into the video. This is a house built in the style of Habitat for Humanity houses that are constructed in Nicaragua. It has no power at this point, and the power generated from our wind turbine will provide electricity for it. Hopefully.

If this project is a success, we may try to build a biodigesting toilet facility for them next spring. Raise your glass for poop-power!

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