Performance and life cycle assessment of a small scale vertical axis wind turbine

Victor Kouloumpis , Robert Adam Sobolewski , Xiaoyu Yan


Wind energy is one of the most popular renewable energy technologies that is considered indispensable in any low carbon energy mix. Small scale wind technologies that occupy less space and can supply electricity directly to their owners are thought to be more environmental friendly than the large turbines and therefore attract less criticism. Based on these, smaller scale renewables especially micro wind turbines should be the ideal solution but this might be just a leap of logic. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether it is worth developing smaller scale vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) as a solution towards mitigating climate change. A real case of a H-Rotor 5 kW Darrieus vertical axis wind turbine in Poland is investigated for its performance using actual generation data. More importantly, a life cycle assessment (LCA) is undertaken, by compiling a very detailed life cycle inventory based on primary data and two scenarios were examined for the end-of-life treatment, including recycling and incineration. The performance assessment results show that the actual performance is very poor mainly due to the low wind speed. For this reason a series of hypothetical capacity factors were used to facilitate comparison with other studies. Using the CML impact assessment methodology, eleven environmental impact categories are assessed. The results show that the majority of the impacts are accredited to the supporting infrastructure - especially the mast and the foundations - rather than the turbine itself, which in the case of the Global Warming Potential (GWP) accounts for only 30%. Although the specific VAWT cannot achieve a generation that could reduce the environmental impacts to the level of the existing wind energy in Poland, a feasible capacity factor of 1.4% could make the GWP lower than the average low voltage electricity mix in Poland. The environmental performance is very sensitive to the fluctuations of the capacity factor and recommendations are given for appropriate siting, recycling of the metals and integration of the turbine on existing building structure.
Author Victor Kouloumpis
Victor Kouloumpis,,
, Robert Adam Sobolewski (FEE / DTEM)
Robert Adam Sobolewski,,
- Department of Theoretical Electrotechnics and Metrology
, Xiaoyu Yan
Xiaoyu Yan,,
Journal seriesJournal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, e-ISSN 1879-1786, (N/A 140 pkt)
Issue year2020
Publication size in sheets0.5
Article number119520
Keywords in EnglishVertical axis wind turbine, Small scale wind system, Life cycle assessment, Sustainable energy
ASJC Classification1408 Strategy and Management; 2105 Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment; 2209 Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; 2300 General Environmental Science
Internal identifierROC 19-20
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)140
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 140.0, 23-03-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 2.308; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 6.395 (2) - 2018=7.051 (5)
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