Australian scientists develop sun and wind driven ventilation system

Published: Sunday 15 October 2006

scientists in Australia have developed a sun and wind driven ventilation system to cool commercial buildings. They hope that the new system will reduce the power requirements of a commercial ventilation system by 15-20 per cent.

Designed by Simon Shun, working under the supervision of N A Ahmed at the University of New South Wales, the system uses wind or solar power when possible. A horizontal spin-axis design increases the effectiveness at which energy is extracted from low-speed wind. When there is no breeze, an electric motor powered by a standalone solar panel powers the system.

But if both the wind drops down and there is not enough sun (for instance, when it is cloudy), the system automatically switches to electricity.

An electronic control module was designed as a smart solution to switch between the energy sources of wind, sun and electricity. The module has adjustable inputs for wind speed and solar intensity.This allows a user to adjust the point at which the system switches over to electricity.

Commercial ventilation systems use significant amounts of electrical power, enough to cause blackouts in some states during the hottest summer days. This new system has the potential to assist the wider community by reducing peak energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions.

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