Abstract

A weather data collection study is currently conducted using a renewable energy training system. The system is composed of a LabVolt trainer, two sun tracking photovoltaic solar panels and a small wind turbine. The LabVolt training system is located in one of the McCoy School of Engineering laboratories, the solar panels and the wind turbine are located in the neighborhood of the Engineering building at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. A set of meteorological data collecting outdoor sensors to monitor the impact of weather conditions on the power generation of the sun-tracking photovoltaic solar panels and the wind turbine have been installed on the building roof. Weather parameters such as atmospheric temperature, pressure, humidity, and rainfall are monitored using a Davis Vantage Pro 2 data collecting system. A number of LabVIEW data acquisition cards and signal processing modules are used to monitor the sun-tracking photovoltaic solar panels’ output voltage, the wind turbine output voltage, the atmospheric temperature, the solar irradiance, and the wind direction, speed, and RPM. A voltage divider has been built to step down the 90V DC voltage produced by the solar panels to 12V DC voltage required for the trainer electrical circuits. A LabVIEW data processing program is used to create instantaneous graphic displays of the collected data on a monitoring screen. The LabVolt trainer is equipped with two charge controller electronic devices, one is used for the sun tracking photovoltaic solar panels, and one is used for the wind turbine. They are used to control the flow of electrical energy through a set of electrical loading devices and a set of storages batteries. Additionally, the LabVolt trainer is equipped with two kilowatt-hour-meters counting the electrical energy consumed by the electrical loads. The trainer is also equipped with two inverters transforming the 12 V DC voltage collected from both energy producing devices to 120 V that can be used by the electrical loading devices. A brief description of all used electronic components and devices is provided in the paper, as well a detailed experiment set-up with a procedure to run them. The project has been divided into three consecutive phases. The first phase dealt with connecting the solar panels, wind turbine, and data collecting sensors to the LabVIEW data acquisition software. The second phase is currently dealing with setting up the trainer solar and wind electricity providing circuits. In the third upcoming phase, it is expected that the data collected by the sensors will be gradually archived using Excel files and analyzed for weather data correlation purposes. It is also expected that the training system will be used to teach upcoming mechanical engineering students about how to set up an independent renewable energy system and the necessary equipment required to run it.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.