Hi, my Name is Lukas and I study mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
In my master thesis I am working on the design of a CFRP rotor blade for a water turbine, which will be used in the framework of the project JOINTVENTUREEARTH of TU Delft.
The design of rotor blades is highly fascinating me and poses a lot of challenges to me to prove my engineering skills.
In 2018 the pioneering project JOINTVENTUREEARTH aims to sail around the North Pole with an energy neutral sailing ship to promote the development of renewable clean technologies. The idea of this academic project founded at TU Delft is to let a team of engineering students design a complete CO2 neutral ship energy system including energy harvesting from solar, wind and water, energy storage, ship operation and propulsion.
The energy from the different power sources available on the ship will be stored and used for propulsion if needed, as example during bad wind/weather conditions or manoeuvring. For the propulsion of the 70t sailing ship a 30kW hybrid powertrain is planned. During autumn semester 2016 a core team of students from TU Delft will start to work on the project. For this energy system a Sailing Current Turbine (SCT) needs to be designed to harvest energy from the water current around the ship while being in sailing mode. The design of current turbines (at large scale mostly tidal energy) is part of ongoing research and poses different design challenges such as high loads exerted on the turbine, blade cavitation, hydroelastic effects and wear caused by the high turbulence flow field. This thesis will focus on a specific design task further explained in the following and will be carried out in collaboration with the team at TU Delft.
Objectives of my thesis:
The objective of my thesis is to design and manufacture a CFRP Sailing Current Turbine (SCT) rotor blade, suitable for the propulsion system of the ECOLUTION. The rotor blade design will be based on standard modelling and simulation tools commonly used for load and power prediction of rotors.
First a literature study needs to be carried out on existing approaches for SCT and existing methodologies for the design of such systems (possibly BEM code, FAST/Aerodyn, FEM calculation or other calculation methods). Additionally, the desired power output and the boundary conditions on the rotor (geometric limitations and max. allowable drag force) have to be defined, in accordance with the project team of JOINTVENTUREEARTH.
In the second part, the rotor blade shall be designed, modelled and analysed. The blade loads, resulting power curve and performance are important points to be investigated. The best suitable materials (GFRP, CFRP, Biofibers, coating, ..) and layup shall be selected. Furthermore, for the inner structure of the blade, modern design concepts shall be investigated (net shape design, 3D printing).
In the last part of the thesis, the blade shall be manufactured and tested. Low energy manufacturing solutions (low temperature prepreg, VARI, out of autoclave) will be consider to improve the energy balance of the final product.
The produced blade prototype will be tested in a lab scale environment.
The design of rotor blades is very interesting to me and challenges my skills as engineer on daily basis. I hope by doing this work I can contribute to change towards more renewable and sustainable energy systems of the future.