Sustainable Energy Analysis & Training Platform

Designed and built by David Cooke of True North Power

This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


        The wind turbine is rated at 1000 watts (output at 26 mph wind speed). It produces three-phase alternating current that is rectified to direct current for charging a battery. Batteries will begin charging in a 10 mph wind. This wind turbine uses computer software (Active Flight Control -TM) to continuously monitor rpm and voltage output and will dynamically brake the turbine in high wind conditions thousands of times per second using pulse modulation. This turbine does not furl away from the wind. It will extract as much power from the wind as possible at all times without spinning out of control. The turbine blades weigh less than one pound each (made from carbon fiber material), therefore the inertia is very slight as the turbine spins. This allows for dynamic braking without damaging the bearings and gears inside the hub.

        Two monocrystalline solar photovoltaic panels are mounted on the far left and right of the PowerCube while two polycrystalline PV panels are mounted in the center. These different types of PV panels are wired separately so that students can observe the power output of each panel type under different weather conditions. Students can also modify the direction and elevation of the panels for further analysis.

        The Davis weather station allows for continuous monitoring of weather data for any length of research. All weather and power output data can be logged onto a computer and analyzed in the lab.

        Two 12-volt deep-cycle batteries are wired in series to provide 24-volt storage. An inverter then allows this power to be utilized with regular AC devices.

        This PowerCube is specifically designed for educational research and training. With this platform, students are able to perform power analysis over time and make comparisons based on various weather conditions. The platform also allows newer students to get hands-on experience with a very simple design for solar PV and small wind systems.