Active Control of Wind Turbine Blades to Increase Efficiency; The Tortoise and the Hare: American and Chinese National and Technological Cultural Values Influence on Sustainability Transition Mechanisms

Author: ORCID icon
Woo, Isaiah, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Neeley, Kathryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Momot, Michael, EN - Mechanical Engineering, University of Virginia

For the technical portion of my thesis, my group and I focused on increasing the efficiency wind turbines gathered energy from oncoming wind, increasing electric energy output and decreasing the cost of energy, furthering the economic viability of wind turbines as a renewable energy source. The first stage of our project was to 3D model and print a wind turbine with a modular trailing edge. For the second stage of our project, we created a testing matrix with materials of different lengths and stiffnesses to attach to the trailing edge, increasing the lift coefficient. We validated our model using flow analysis via ANSYS. As a result, we determined the optimal ratio of edge modification length to blade width for wind speeds ranging from 20-55 mph.

My STS research modeled the framework of an analysis by Weibe Bijker, comparing contemporaneous national action and policy plans released by the United States and China. My analysis of these documents draws out features if each nations technological cultures as they relate to sustainability transitions. Further, I connect the features of each technological culture to underlying national cultural values. The core of my analysis is juxtaposing Chinese and American technological cultures to reveal their relative strengths and weaknesses in unique sustainability transitions. It also sheds light on organizations, systems, and actors that enable and drive change, and the organizations that rein in transition mechanisms. My analysis concludes that both are necessary, but need to be balanced and recognized as such.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
wind, sustainability, transition, turbine, energy, renewable
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