UR2-0516Fennec wind turbine

A compact, lightweight, scalable wind turbine with a wide range of use, from the Far North to the deserts of Africa.

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In recent years, environmental friendliness has been an obvious trend in the global energy industry. Green energy is not merely a tribute to fashion. It is a way to ensure stable development. Wind energy is probably one of the most progressive areas within the green movement.

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TASK

Maksim Kuzin, chief designer: "We got interested in wind energy thanks to our colleagues at UralVagonZavod, who told us about some ambitious challenges in this industry and the corresponding market opportunities. We proposed several ideas, conducted research, and worked out which characteristics a unit must satisfy. These characteristics include: resistance to extreme climatic and seismic conditions, the possibility of use everywhere, from the Far North to the deserts of Africa, long life, and easy transportation and deployment.

Of course, the creation of a new product is always attended by difficulties. The classic factor is time. You have to work within tight deadlines; at the same time, you have to anticipate and get in front of future tasks, analyzing world experience and integrating it with modern demands and challenges.

We were inspired by the work of the Russian engineer Vladimir Grigoryevich Shukhov to use a hyperboloid shell structure. Our project is a milestone in the development of Shukhov's work; we have transferred his ideas from a static plane to a full-fledged dynamic space".

The computational power to carry out engineering calculations on the Minin supercomputer were provided by our colleagues at the "Burevestnik Central Scientific Research Institute".

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The computing power for performing engineering calculations on the "Minin" supercomputer is provided by our colleagues from the Central Research Institute "Burevestnik".

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DESIGN FEATURES

Fennec is a wind turbine with a long autonomous operation life (without maintenance). Its total service life is about 50 years in the most aggressive conditions. To achieve such capabilities, it was necessary to employ non-standard design solutions and technology. Most of the rotor's parts are made of aluminum alloys used in aviation: D16, АD31, АMg2Н2. They provide high corrosion resistance and the necessary mechanical characteristics. At the same time, a 6-meter blade weighs only 5 kg.

As a result, we have created a truly compact wind turbine that can serve as the basis for distributed energy networks. The design of a rotor that could provide the necessary compactness, high mechanical strength, and low rotation frequency and startup speed turned out not to be fully traditional; it is a hyperboloid shell structure built of aluminum blades with an optimal airfoil profile.

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TESTING

Maksim Kuzin, chief designer: "We carried out internal testing in Moscow. After perfecting the installation, we checked for mechanical strength and stability. We set up an airflow with speed of up to 10 m/s. Obtaining the expected values, we confirmed our calculations and the efficiency of every system.

The first test of the wind turbine on the 'battlefield' occurred when it was demonstrated at the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) in Baku, which by the way, they call the 'city of winds'. We were lucky to get very diverse weather conditions during the 10 days of the exhibition: a storm wind with cold, torrential rain gave way to hot, sunny weather. We saw how the unit operates in tough climatic conditions, evaluated the measures that we had taken to prepare for them, and gathered valuable information that allowed us to make several improvements in the second model. It was interesting to see that real power is generated even by light winds of 3–4 m/s, which similar models elsewhere in the world can't achieve".

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ADVANTAGES

The main advantage of the Fennec wind turbine as compared to wind generators of other manufacturers is that it produces power in conditions under which other products cannot work effectively. For example, for urban use, you need the rotor to be maximally low-speed in order to minimize danger and noise levels, while still ensuring sufficient specific production levels. In hard-to-reach mountainous regions, compactness is vitally important, because it is not always possible to transport and install large pieces of equipment there. In the desert, meanwhile, protection from sand (which in these circumstances is abrasive) and dramatic temperature changes (from +56 to –12 °C) is essential.

The Fennec Aerograde 4 turbine works at a very low frequency (60–90 rpm), without making noise or transmitting vibrations to the base. It uses high-class bearings, and the load is distributed simultaneously to several assemblies which parts are securely sealed to protect against friction. All of these factors significantly lengthen the turbine's service life and the interval between repairs. A telemetry system allows remote monitoring of the condition of the equipment and its remote control. The turbine is transported already assembled in a 20-foot container, which significantly reduces logistics expenses.

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PROSPECTS

We hope that, first of all, resource-exploration and energy corporations, as well as companies that work in hard-to-reach areas with tough climatic conditions, will take an interest in us. Many companies have announced their firm intent to increase the share of renewable energy sources in their total consumption.

Furthermore, we will present comprehensive infrastructure projects based on our technology and products which would allow the development of areas with tough weather conditions. Some of the first solutions will be comprehensive transport and energy infrastructure, communications systems, and fresh-water production.

In addition to the main advantages of the Fennec wind turbine – compact design, safety, long life, the possibility of use in all weather conditions – it is important to point out that reliable and easy-to-maintain energy networks can be built on the basis of this turbine. Unlike classic wind farms, where all the power is produced by one large turbine and where a malfunction means energy production stops completely, a network of Fennec units consists of independent modules. The failure of one or several turbines will not cause the shutdown of the whole system, and the station will proceed working autonomously until a technician arrives.

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