Wind Powered Vehicle
This mechanical engineering project topic looks into the working of a wind powered vehicle. Wind is one of the prominent sources of renewable energy. The best example of a wind powered vehicle is a sail powered ship. Ships have been here for thousands of years. But this project is not about them instead this is about wind powered vehicles on land. Though they are not a new concept, not many are successfully made. This field still holds a wide scope for research and development.
Wind Powered Car:
A wind powered car is, as the name tells, one which is solely powered by wind. These cars work with the help of resistance provided by the wind.
Wind powered vehicles work with the help of tail wind only ie, the wind should be flowing in the same direction of the movement of the vehicle, or more technically a component of the force created by the wind should be in the same direction of the movement of the vehicle. Currently no designs are capable of moving on upwind.
Mostly there are two types wind powered cars based on the way they use wind power for movement.
1. Turbine Powered:
These wind powered cars have a wind turbine at its tail end. During tail wind the wind energy will rotate the turbine. This rotary movement is transferred to the mechanical components of the car causing movement. The direction of the turbine can be controlled to collect maximum wind energy. ‘Ventomobile’ is such a car with a light weight body and three wheels. It was developed by students of University of Stuttgart and has won the ‘aeolus race’ in 2008.
2. Sail Powered:
Just like in ships these cars are driven using a vertical sale. This vertical sail will collect maximum force from the wind and this is the sole source of energy for driving the car. The direction of sail can be adjusted to get maximum ‘apparent wind’. These cars also has wings on either side just like in Formula1 cars to compensate the ‘lift’ cause by high speed.
Though many assume that a wind powered car cannot go faster than the wind this is untrue. ‘Greenbird’ a sail powered car which currently holds the record for ‘fastest vehicle powered solely by wind’, goes upto 3-5 times the speed of the wind. This is by adjusting the position of the sail and thus increasing the resultant speed of the wind.
Important things to keep in mind while working on this project:
- This project can be executed only in windy areas. Since the project time is only a maximum of three months it is less likely to come up with a very efficient design that can actually move on wind.
- The body of the car should be ultra-light weight.
- Proper electronic or mechanical control should be there to adjust the position of sail/turbine to get maximum apparent wind.
Hope some of you will work on this project and make this a success. All the best!