Abstract

Wind energy harvesters are usually designed to operate in the low wind speed range. They rely on smaller swept areas, as a complement to larger horizontal-axis wind turbines. A torsional-flutter-based apparatus is investigated herein to extract wind energy. A nonlinear hybrid restoring toque mechanism, installed at equally spaced supports, is used to produce energy through limit-cycle vibration. Energy conversion and storage from the wind flow are enabled by eddy currents. The apparatus is used during thunderstorm outflows to explore the efficiency in non-ideal wind conditions. The thunderstorm flow model accounts for both non-stationary turbulence and slowly varying mean speed, replicating thunderstorm's intensification and decay stages. This paper evolves from a recent study to examine stochastic stability. More Specifically, the output power is a random process that is derived numerically. Various thunderstorm features and variable apparatus configurations are evaluated. Numerical investigations confirm the detrimental effect of non-ideal, thunderstorms on harvester performance with, on average, an adverse increment of operational speed (about +30\%). Besides nonlinear damping, the benign flutter-prone effect is controlled by the square of the flapping angle. Since flapping amplitudes are moderate at sustained flutter, activation of the apparatus is delayed and exacerbated by the non-stationary outflow and aeroelastic load features. Finally, efficiency is carefully investigated by quantification of output power and “quality factor”.

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