The specification of a small commercial wind energy conversion system for the South African Antarctic Research Base SANAE IV

Stander, Johan Nico (2008-12)

Thesis (MScEng (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


The sustainability and economy of the current South African National Antarctic Expedition IV (SANAE IV) base diesel-electric power system are threatened by the current high fuel prices and the environmental pollution reduction obligations. This thesis presents the potential technical, environmental and economical challenges associated with the integration of small wind energy conversion system (WECS) with the current SANAE IV diesel fuelled power system. Criteria derived from technical, environmental and economic assessments are applied in the evaluation of eight commercially available wind turbines as to determine the most technically and economically feasible candidates. Results of the coastal Dronning Maud Land and the local Vesleskarvet cold climate assessments based on long term meteorological data and field data are presented. Field experiments were performed during the 2007-2008 austral summer. These results are applied in the generation of a wind energy resource map and in the derivation of technical wind turbine evaluation criteria. The SANAE IV energy system and the electrical grid assessments performed are based on long term fuel consumption records and 2008 logged data. Assessment results led to the identification of SANAE IV specific avoidable wind turbine grid integration issues. Furthermore, electro-technical criteria derived from these results are applied in the evaluation of the eight selected wind turbines. Conceptual wind turbine integration options and operation modes are also suggested. Wind turbine micro-siting incorporating Vesleskarvet specific climatological, environmental and technical related issues are performed. Issues focusing on wind turbine visual impact, air traffic interference and the spatial Vesleskarvet wind distribution are analysed. Three potential sites suited for the deployment of a single or, in the near future, a cluster of small wind turbines are specified. Economics of the current SANAE IV power system based on the South African economy (May 2008) are analysed. The life cycle economic impact associated with the integration of a small wind turbine with the current SANAE IV power system is quantified. Results of an economic sensitivity analysis are used to predict the performance of the proposed wind-diesel power systems. All wind turbines initially considered will recover their investment costs within 20 years and will yield desirable saving as a result of diesel fuel savings, once integrated with the SANAE IV diesel fuelled power system. Finally, results of the technical and economical evaluation of the selected commercially available wind turbines indicated that the Proven 6 kWrated, Bergey 10 kWrated and Fortis 10 kWrated wind turbines are the most robust and will yield feasible savings.

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