Skip to content

Household wind turbines


Juan Lopez, E’17, displays the wind turbine he and his peers developed for RISE:2016. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Today’s wind turbines are gargantuan structures that require high wind speeds to generate large amounts of energy for consumers.

One group of engineering students presenting at RISE:2016—and featured at the event’s Innovation Alley—wondered, why go big? Why not go small?

Drawing from a past capstone project, Juan Lopez, E’17, and his team developed a scaled-down version of a wind turbine that would be geared toward everyday consumers and utilize slower wind speeds to generate energy using a furling and unfurling method.

“Through our research we determined that the high wind speeds needed to generate the energy output big wind turbines claim are just not common,” said Lopez, a mechanical engineering student. “Our prototype would be for household consumers and generate about 40 percent of a house’s electricity.”

The smaller turbine, which would have about a 30-foot diameter, would operate with winds between three and seven meters-per-second. Once wind speeds get too high, sails on the turbine would furl, decreasing the surface area and preventing the turbine from rotating.

Once a full-scale model of the turbine is built, Lopez said the next step would be to attach a generator to it and start creating energy.

Cookies on Northeastern sites

This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand your use of our website and give you a better experience. By continuing to use the site or closing this banner without changing your cookie settings, you agree to our use of cookies and other technologies. To find out more about our use of cookies and how to change your settings, please go to our Privacy Statement.