Bowie State Professor Improves Wind Turbine with Newly Patented DesignOctober 10, 2018
(BOWIE, Md.) – A Bowie State University physics professor and researcher, along with a recent BSU graduate, has received the university's first U.S. patent for a silent wind turbine that improves the performance over similar devices, can operate with low wind speeds and is small enough to power a single home.
Assistant Professor Mikhail Goloubev developed a unique design with two sets of three horizontal blades, which can harness the power of winds blowing in multiple directions and convert it into energy. More traditional wind turbines may house horizontal blades in a vertical shaft, which may need to be manually adjusted for optimal use under those conditions. Dr. Goloubev’s wind turbine does not include a shaft.
His invention can also produce energy with wind speeds as low as 8 miles per hour. Other wind turbines need to capture winds of high speeds to work most effectively and can often create a hazard for birds and bugs because of the high force of their spinning blades.
Manufacturing the wind turbine would require only inexpensive, recyclable materials, like aluminum or steel, which adds to its environmentally friendly composition. It is also designed to be easy to repair over time,which is a plus when compared to rooftop solar panels. Dr. Goloubev envisions that his invention could be used in mini-wind farms of four or five units to provide clean energy for an entire neighborhood.
Although many people may support the idea of the low-cost, energy to power their homes, the “not in my background” mentality makes the idea of a large-scale power facility unattractive. “No one would ever accept a power plant, polluting the air and the environment, around private houses, so clean energy is best for the environment and communities,” said Dr. Goloubev.
His collaborator on the patent, Joshua Brown (’15), was a Bowie State student at the time when he assisted with the research needed to advance the idea. Brown spent two summers working with Dr. Goloubev, using specialized software to perform the tests, analysis and 3-D modeling needed to identify the right design to solve problems inherent to traditional wind turbines.
Now a software developer at a locally based technology firm, Brown is still amazed that he is a collaborator on a U.S. patent. “It’s kind of surreal. My parents knows about it and a couple of close friends. When I’ve gone to recent family reunions, my parents will mention it to one of my family members, and they’ll say, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ It’s hard to believe that it’s real.”