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DNA Wind Turbine

A Modular design allowing different size devices for different applications

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HAWT (Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines) are deemed more efficient that VAWT (Vertical Axis Wind Turbines). Additionally, the higher you go, the more wind you get. Power generation is a factor not of wind speed but of the cube of wind speed. Catch 2 times the wind speed, get 8 times the power.. Hence giant windmills are rather ''efficient''
But... Giant windmills have a problem similar to building huge aircraft. Because they are so big, production costs do not fall much no matter how many you make. Barriers to entry are huge. They are also technically complex, just like making perfect aircraft wings.

Then we have the problem of the word efficiency. It is always viewed in a technical vacuum. My view of efficiency always considers cost. If a HAWT is twice as efficient as a VAWT but it costs 3 times more - in my eyes - the VAWT is economically more efficient.

Hence this project. Our VAWT comes straight from nature as it is the shape of mudular DNA.

The general theory behind this project is that modular design can lead to very low production & logistics costs.

The turbine will consist of a number of smaller identical pieces designed to lock together. Each individual DNA piece will be 210mm high & 1260mm wide. Stack 10 together & the total height of the turbine will be 2.1 meters. Making multiple smaller identical pieces is cheaper & more efficient than making one huge piece.

We started this project years ago so the project updates will reflect things that happened in the past, not in real time. At this time, we have all the parts fabricated we just need assemble the final product in a windy location. Unfortunately, we do not have a windy location so we have decided to built it in a non windy location. On the occasional days when we get decent wind, we can get good performance data. Additionally, we do occasionally get huge storms so structural integrity can be tested even in the poor location we have chosen. Once we know more, we might consider moving the device to an official test site somewhere (but that costs a lot of money).

We spent a lot of time on the design of the individual pieces. Getting the perfect shape & finding an effective way to lock the pieces together was challenging.

Because each piece is 210mm x 1260mm, we have the ability to flat pack a big windmill onto a fairly small pallet. Similar to an IKEA piece of furniture, the device is designed so anyone can assemble it using simple instructions & simple tools. Each DNA piece is very light so easy to maneuver.

We are fortunate to have a 3D printer. After each design modification, we were able to print scale models of the DNA piece & stack them together..

The complete DNA turbine is mounted on a pole & spins a generator. The generator size depends on the height of the turbine & the wind conditions in the location it is built.

The windmill should be useful for off grid folks. It will be rather beautiful, completely silent & it will not kill any birds. It could also possibly be used by companies as a form of green energy & advertising. That is, mount it at the entrance to a facility where flag poles usually go, put the company name on it & it will demonstrate that the company at least pays lip service to saving the environment.

The turbine will produce energy at very low wind speeds but output is a function of the cube of the wind speed so good wind really helps!. The turbine can also be roof mounted..

The device is supposed to be cheap. Actual price is somewhat irrelevant. The price has to be judged relative to the amount of energy the windmill makes. We have a degree of confidence that it will pay for itself in 5 years (with no subsidies) if mounted in a windy spot in a country with high(ish) electricity costs. If we achieve that, it will be seriously ''efficient''. When I say ''price'' I mean the total installed cost. Even with a mini turbine like this designed for on site assy, installation will cost some money & time.

  • 10 × FRP Modular DNA pieces 210mm x 1260mm with locks
  • 1 × Modular Steel poles The structure to hold the DNA turbine in place
  • 1 × Generator PM generator. Multiple sizes depending on no. of DNA pieces
  • 1 × GTI Grid Tie Inverter to connect direct to the grid
  • 50 × Ball bearings Strong ball bearings for the top & bottom connection points

View all 6 components

  • 3D files available

    MW Motors11/06/2015 at 16:19 5 comments

    The 3D files of parta & the assembly are available at

    https://github.com/MWMotors/Helix

    If you have problems opening or viewing them, let us know..

  • Turbines spinning

    MW Motors11/05/2015 at 14:33 0 comments

    The 3 videos below are supposed to demonstrate the flexibility of the concept.

    These are all with unstable & unsuitable structural platforms. It is eye candy but we did no science whatsoever during these little tests. The videos just show you want different versions look like.

    VIDEO 1. A 20 piece DNA turbine.

    As you can see, it looks pretty cool. It spins very well even in low wind speed... Obviously, the mounting is crap & the setting (between buildings) is not good for catching any wind at all. The video gets across the basic concept. I think these things are beautiful & somewhat enchanting. A video does not do it justice but I could sit & look at one of these things going around all day long...

    VIDEO 2. A 10 piece DNA turbine

    As you can see, it is exactly the same but instead of stacking 20 pieces on top of each pother, we stacked 10. It will (more or less) produce half the power of the bigger unit..


    VIDEO 3. A 5 piece DNA turbine.

    The little baby!.. just the same as his big brother & daddy but this time just 5 pieces. This would be an ideal think for roof mounting on any roof in a windy location (possibly bolted to the chimney). Cheap, cheerful & handy.. Probably ideal for DIY folks as they could use something like a second hand car alternator as the generator...


    In all cases, we have direct drive. The DNA pieces turn a generator. The generator is located at the bottom of the helix. There are fairly huge bearings at the top & bottom (I will post pics, 3D drawings etc later).

    We do not have any proper data yet so we have no idea what generator we will match with what turbine. Adding gears is a possibility (but a possibility we want to avoid if at all possible). There will be a good 6 months of testing , measurement & analysis to be done once we mount the 20 piece helix in its proper mounting in the field. The main thing we need to see is it it can withstand hurricane force gusts (we are bound to get some serious gusts over 6 months even in a non windy location?)

    The modular system is not limited to 5, 10 or 20. The big picture plan is that we use multiple stacks to power one generator. The various stacks being connected by a Bevel gear we developed. The logic is that the generator (& GTI) is expensive but the DNA stacks are cheap. We will buy a generator that we expect will be fully used even in quite low winds. Once at full output, the DNA stacks that are not required to power the generator will just spin... We think this idea will make the overall system much more efficient & it will help eliminate excess capacity & it will give constant energy, not peaks & lows. It only makes any sense if you fully understand the cost of all the components..



  • Diggin' a hole

    MW Motors10/27/2015 at 17:22 2 comments

    This may be the lowest tech log we have ever written!.

    But, we got an engineer (we call them a static), I think the proper word is probably a civil engineer.. One of us knows him. He analyzed everything & told us all we needed to know about the foundations for the windmill. We think it is absolute overkill. But, we really know nothing about this area so we just did what we were told...

    First, dig a big hole.

    Next, call a big cement truck.

    Then level the thing off...

    Then have a laugh & tell your colleague that he missed a bit !

    Now, we have to wait 28 days for the cement to set!. What can I say, as a group, we have many talents!

    We did skip the step of applying for planning permission. That could take a hundred years by which time our planet might be destroyed!. This is a site of convenience & I think we can convince the authorities it is a temporary structure (it will be if it falls down). Unfortunately, it is not a windy site but good enough for proof of concept.

    Our Static engineer also told us we had to change the base of the windmill & the quantity of bolts we intended to use but that is easy..

    More in about a month!.

  • Actual FRP DNA piece

    MW Motors09/08/2015 at 11:33 4 comments

    Below are some pics of the actual FRP piece that will make the windmill.

    First pic just shows the scale of the real FRP piece compared to the model we printed on our 3D printer. Each actual piece weighs exactly 5kg.

    Second pic shows how big it is compared to a nice office chair !. You can also see bits of our other projects in the background..!!



    The two pics above show the male & female locks to keep the turbine together..

    Assembly is pretty simple. Make the top & bottom bearings & holders. Insert a pole through the big hole in the center of the DNA piece. Stack the pieces as high as you like & lock them using the locks. Put a PMG (generator) on the bottom. Build a foundation, place in a windy area, make electricity. Of course, it is a bit more complex than that & I will show the reality in future project logs.

    The key point is the modular nature of the build. Our one DNA piece can be stacked to make a small or a relatively larger windmill...

    Next log will be about the poles, the bearings, & the super structure to stop the turbine falling over...

  • Desing & 3D printing

    MW Motors09/04/2015 at 07:19 0 comments

    The key design considerations were that the product needed to be cheap, easy to fabricate & easy to transport. This ruled out the possibility of building a single, large turbine.

    The finally settled on this design.

    In the center you can see a hole. The piece is slid onto a pole & then all pieces locked into place using the male - female connection points visible on the top & bottom.

    When these individual pieces are stacked, they form the following shape.

    This is 1.26 meters wide. Each DNA piece is 210mm high. Stack 20 together & the turbine is over 4 meters high.

    To build a scale model, we 3D printed the parts.

    We then mounted the model pieces on a model pole to check everything worked well..

    As you can see, our little model even has ball bearings so we could test if it was spinning correctly. You can also see that our 3D printing efforts were not exactly perfect but good enough for proof of concept.

    The next step was to make the FRP tooling & spend lots of time looking at how to mount the turbine, pole strength, finding suitable bearings etc. To be described in future project logs..

    The idea of a DNA shaped turbine is not new. Various companies in China make them but not in a modular way. Also, one USA company spend about USD70M of investors money developing a ''Helix turbine". After running out of money, they were bought by another company but I believe the product they developed it no longer available. Unfortunately, in the land of green products, a lot of companies seen to waste millions hyping products that could never repay the massive development costs. After burning through the investors money, a lot of these companies just go bankrupt & the product is never heard of again..

View all 5 project logs

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MW Motors wrote 12/30/2015 at 10:39 point

Thanks.  I will add drawings & other info later.  I am miles behind on everything now.  Once we have shown the wind turbine actually functions & have shows how well it does at various wind speeds, I will post 3D drawings & all other info.....

  Are you sure? yes | no

munsal wrote 12/27/2015 at 20:35 point

Nice project. Do you have to add 3D models in .stl format?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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