Glasgow-based green-tech innovation company Katrick Technologies has concluded the first stage of the alpha testing phase of its novel wind-power-generation technology.
Developed in partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry and tested at the University of Strathclyde, the prototype of the company’s Wind Panel has yielded impressive results during this latest testing phase, the company said, demonstrating the technology’s potential as a disruptive innovation in the green-tech sphere.
Katrick Technologies’ Wind Panel is a market-first wind-power-generation technology that addresses the limitations of conventional wind turbines by capturing a far wider range of wind speeds and frequencies at lower levels through its unique design. The panel features channelling ducts containing aerofoils that oscillate independently when exposed to the kinetic energy of wind; these mechanical oscillations are then converted to energy.
The duct was designed as part of the MTC partnership to augment wind velocity and focus higher speeds onto the aerofoils. The Wind Panel collects energy in smaller pockets, allowing it to capture gust and ground-effect winds that rotary turbines can’t.
The technology has been validated to technology readiness level 5 by the University of Strathclyde, and the alpha testing phase aimed to gather data to prove the functionality of the technology under its intended operational conditions. Stage 1 of the alpha phase involved two test periods in wind tunnels to replicate operational conditions, the first at the Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub and the second at the University of Strathclyde. During the testing at Silverstone, a wind speed acceleration of 1.5 times was recorded, demonstrating that the design of the prototype was effectively increasing wind speeds and therefore potential energy production.
The team conducted 51 tests over 80 hours at the University of Strathclyde, working towards predefined design targets for performance. The prototype was expected to produce between 25 and 40 watts of mechanical power at a wind speed of 12 metres per second, but it exceeded this target and produced on average 41.1 W at just 10.2 m/s.
During one test cycle, the prototype produced 68.58 W, far more than the predicted maximum level. The design targets for this stage of alpha testing also anticipated that the system would run at around 3.6–5.8 per cent efficiency, but on average, the overall efficiency was 6.85 per cent, again, a significant improvement on the forecast results.
Katrick Technologies now plans to build on the success of alpha stage 1 and take the next steps towards the commercialisation of the technology in stages 2 and 3. During stage 2, the technology will be validated to technology readiness level 6, where it will be demonstrated in a wind tunnel to mimic a range of environmental conditions. Following validation, any final required upgrades and optimisation will be completed as part of stage 3.
‘Demand for clean electricity will rise significantly as we move away from using power produced by burning fossil fuels, but because distribution networks may not be able to fully satisfy this demand, we will need to be able to generate renewable energy locally or on buildings,’ said Steve Nesbitt, chief technologist for the built environment at the MTC. ‘Katrick’s novel technology is a great example of how this can be achieved and we are pleased to be working with them to make their innovation a reality. We look forward to continuing our work with them to help commercialise their invention and accelerate society’s transition to sustainable energy.’
‘Katrick Technologies’ successful controlled testing and performance characterisation of the Wind Panel is a significant step forward in the development of the product against the technology readiness level development framework,’ said Cameron Johnstone, director of the Energy Systems Research Unit at the University of Strathclyde. ‘This demonstrates engineering performance that is de-risking both the investment relating to maturing the technology for the market and the performance and robustness of the product.’
The completion of alpha Sstage 1 marks a significant milestone in the development of Katrick Technologies’ Wind Panel. The results from these tests have demonstrated that not only does the technology function as expected, but it exceeds the targets originally set and shows the potential of this innovation in generating clean energy. Katrick Technologies will now continue to collaborate with the MTC and the University of Strathclyde to optimise its Wind Panels and begin the next phase of testing, bringing the technology one step closer to market.