Located directly on the sandy beaches of Fort Lauderdale Florida, the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort elected to expand and enhance its green signature by adding 6,4 kW Vertical Axis Wind Turbines to the roof in a grid tie system.
The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Wind Turbine System Beach project, presented unique challenges because of the location of the turbines on the building combined with the need to access the Wind Turbines for regular maintenance while also having the need to lower them whenever potential names storms (hurricanes) may be threatening the shores.
The 4KW Vertical Wind Generators (UGE-4K) used in this particular installation were manufactured byUrban Green Energy (UGE) which are a vertical axis wind turbine with the unique design whereby the carbon fiber/fiberglass blade design acts as a wind foil creating rotational lift while extracting a high amount energy from the dynamically changing winds.
The aesthetically pleasing design rotates at a low 110 RPM speed providing minimum noise (only 38 dB @ 27 mph which is less than the background noise). It has a low start up speed of only 7 mph and automatically cuts out at 67 mph. A Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) also has a great track record for minimum (if any) bird strike/kills thanks to its low operating speed and visibility.
The unique demands of this Hilton Fort Lauderdale Wind Turbine System Installation, required custom-designed steel powder coated colored towers to be fitted at the 6 strategic locations along the top side of the building.
Each tower has its own built-in hinge mechanism combined with a 25 ton screw jack raising/lowering system. When brought to the lowered position, there is a receiving cradle that captures the tower keeping the turbine blades off the deck. The clearance provided by the cradles allows for the necessary manual blade rotation use during the annual inspection.
Additionally the cradles have clamps for securing the towers to them with additional straps for tying off the turbine blades when potential named windstorms are approaching. Their size and weight combined with the location at the top of the Hilton Hotel Renewable Energy Project presented additional challenges requiring an extra tall crane for lifting.
Significant preparation was required presetting the tower mounts using the custom-made templates. This allowed the towers to be dropped fitted into place immediately as they were lifted to the roof. In addition to, the tower mounts were sandwiched with a vibration absorbing pad to help eliminate any possible stray vibrations.
The Wind Generators were mechanically assembled on the roof and attached to the towers while lowered in the horizontal position minimizing potential damage to them during the installation process.
When ready, each tower will be slowly raised into position utilizing the electric screw jack which takes close to one hour to complete the lift into the full vertical position.
Each tower base will then be secured in place with 12 large connecting bolts. This system will enable the vertical turbines to be lowered for their annual maintenance inspection or should a potential named storm have its eye on Fort Lauderdale.
On the electrical side, the wind generator three-phase, wild AC output wires connect through to a Wind Interface Controller (PVI-7200) which monitors its speed and power and will if necessary, limit the maximum speed or power production due to excessive wind or should the Hilton Hotel grid be lost.
Under these circumstances, the excess energy is passed into a load bank to dissipate the energy while slowing down and breaking the wind generator. The Wind Interface Controller connects to the Power-One Grid Tie Inverter (PVI-4200) which then ties into the 208 VAC hotel electricity. The Grid Tie Inverter captures and optimizes the variable power being produced by the Wind Energy generator converting it into useful electric power that is placed on the hotels electric grid to be consumed.
As is common in all grid tie systems, whenever the hotels electric power is lost, the wind turbines will automatically be turned off and stop rotating through an electric brake. This safety mechanism, as defined by underwriters labs, the NEC, FPL and required by city ordinance, assures that no power is being generated and connected to the hotels electric system should utility workers be on-site or locally working on restoring the utility power. There are no batteries or storage devices in a grid tie system.
To keep a watchful eye on the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Wind Turbine System, each of the grid tie inverters are interconnected to the ViewUGE monitoring system. This Internet connected monitoring system allows for the collection of energy production information both instantaneously and historically.
In addition it is used for keeping a watchful eye on the vertical wind turbines for proper operation. Should a problem occur, it will be identified through the Internet-based program and preemptive corrective maintenance can be made.
The high amount of energy production (24kW) of this system is considered by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) to be a Tier II Renewable Energy Systems project. To meet the requirements of Tier II, a master disconnect was required to be installed on the electric speed to the wind generators. A grid tie interconnect agreement was required between the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel and FPL.
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