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Home > ERU Test Site Wind Turbine > Wind Turbine
Energy Research Unit

ERU Test Site Facility - "Windharvester" Wind Turbine

The nacelle assembled Attaching the hoisting cables to the nacelle Making a final check on the nacelle before attachment Making the fantails ready Attaching the nacelle The main assembly is lifted into place.  Up she goes!

The Windharvester (shown being constructed in the sequence of photos above and right), is rated at 45kW and is used to demonstrate the potential of a power system for a remote or island community with no connection to the central electricity grid. When the wind is not blowing this system uses a diesel generator to provide power. 

The flywheelHowever, if the wind drops for just a short period, say 2 or 3 minutes, it is wasteful to start up a diesel generator. Using a flywheel (left) allows energy to be stored when the wind is blowing and to be re-used when the wind drops momentarily thus saving diesel fuel. The flywheel shown weighs about one tonne, is a metre in diameter and has an operating speed of between 2000 to 6000 rpm, capable of supplying rated power for about 4 minutes. 

Examples of past projects that have used the Windharvester are:

  • Pressure measurement at the blade surface of a stall regulated wind turbine (Imperial College)
  • Flow measurement around an operational wind turbine using particle image velocimetry (Heriot-Watt University)
  • Wind/Diesel system with variable speed flywheel (Imperial College)
  • Investigation of Electro-Dynamic braking of wind turbines (Manchester University)


Who is under the nose cone?
Lifting the vanes into position
Wind Harvester completed



Energy Research Unit at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Energy Research Unit
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Science & Technology Facilities Council