If you own a boat, and you plan to cruise a few days at sea, you have a great interest in installing a marine wind turbine.
This is an efficient solution for charging and powering your boat’s batteries for free at sea. Some marine wind turbines provide work comparable to that of a shore loader. If your boat is an outboard boat then this is the special outboard motor for an inflatable boat that supports the wind turbine work properly.
Wondering how to choose and install a marine wind turbine? So follow the guide!
Table of Contents
- Types of marine wind turbines
- How to choose a wind turbine for a boat?
- How to install a marine wind turbine?
Types of marine wind turbines
Like domestic wind turbines, a marine wind turbine includes an electricity generator (wind generator) driven by wind through a blade mechanism. Depending on the orientation of the rotation axis of the electricity generator, there are two types of wind turbines for boats: vertical wind turbines and horizontal wind turbines.
Vertical marine wind turbines
Vertical Wind Turbines (VAWTs) have a vertical rotor that rotates inside a vertically positioned rod that acts as a stator.
Vertical blades secured to the rotor can capture the wind and generate a mechanical force that will be transformed into electrical energy inside the generator.
There are several types of vertical offshore wind: wind turbine rotor Darrieus, wind turbine rotor Darrieus H, wind turbine rotor helical Darrieus, wind rotary wing, and Savonius wind turbine.
Advantages and disadvantages of vertical marine wind turbines
Horizontal marine wind turbines
Horizontal Wind Turbines (HAWTs) have a horizontal rotor on which blades are helically assembled.
The wind turns the blades (front or back depending on the model), thus driving the rotor inside a fixed stator.
Advantages and disadvantages of horizontal marine wind turbines
How to choose a wind turbine for a boat?
To correctly choose a marine wind turbine, there are five essential factors to consider:
Boat wind turbines operate at 12, 24, or 48 volts. Prices generally vary from 500 to 2000 euros depending on the brands and models. You may also like how to install a bilge pump on your boat article.
How to install a marine wind turbine?
Install a wind turbine: Choosing the location of the installation
Whatever the type of wind turbine, it is essential to choose the location of the facility. Of course, if you have a small boat, opt for a vertical wind turbine, because horizontal wind turbines are bulkier and require a lot of space.
The location usually depends on the architecture and electronic equipment of the boat. It must be well chosen to optimize the efficiency of the wind turbine and to avoid risks.
If you opt for a horizontal wind turbine, make sure that the blades do not touch any surrounding objects on the entire turning circle of the wind turbine (360 °).
Generally, a height of at least 2.5 m must be provided between the bottom of the blades and the deck.
Provide a suitable fastening system
Marine wind turbines are subject to more severe winds compared to domestic wind turbines. Besides, because of the advancement of the boat, they undergo higher horizontal forces.
Therefore, it is necessary to provide a fastening system fairly robust and adequately sized to be able to properly support the weight of the wind turbine and the forces to which it will be subjected during navigation.
Assemble the maximum of the pieces at ground level
Pre-mounted wind turbines are very easy to install and pose a few installation problems. That said, most marine wind turbines on the market are not pre-assembled and must be assembled before being mounted on the boat. To avoid the risk of falling and injury, be sure to join the maximum number of parts and accessories of the wind turbine on the ground.
The electrical connection
It is essential to use correctly dimensioned cables when connecting the wind turbine to the batteries. Wires of a too-small section can cause voltage losses.
They can also overheat because of the high resistance in the circuit and cause a fire on board.
On the other hand, a section that is too big can lead to cost and weight problems.
Remember to limit the length of the cables as much as possible to reduce voltage loss.
Since the wind turbine can produce currents of very high intensity, it is recommended to use a voltage regulator to protect the batteries against very high currents and to avoid overload problems.
Moreover, it is more practical to opt for a wind turbine with an integrated voltage regulator.
The marine wind turbine is a simple and practical device that allows power and recharge batteries on a boat.
If you have significant needs in terms of electrical energy, then opt for a horizontal wind turbine.
Vertical wind turbines are less cumbersome and noisy, but they are also less efficient. They can be used as an additional source of energy to recharge the batteries.
To take full advantage of the weather conditions, you can pair your marine wind turbine with one or more solar panels.
When installing, be sure to follow the instructions supplied by the manufacturer, especially the instructions for the fastening system and the electrical connection.