An experimental wind test site was installed on a desert farm located in the trade windblown Atlantic coast. When built in 1994, the farm's main production of greenhouse-grown vegetables, tomatoes and melons were originally destined for higher value off-season export markets. These products are currently supplying the region's growing local and regional markets.
The farms electricity needs were supplied by two diesel generators and a 50 kW wind turbine was added to the system.
The AOC 15/50 wind turbine was connected into a small 5500 volts distribution grid. With a diesel generator providing frequency regulation and backup power, any surplus wind power was fed into a variable speed driven ice making plant. Ice used for fish conservation has a high market value due to the region’s fishing activities.
In operation, the AOC 15/50kW wind turbine was among the very first of its category on the continent. It now looks obsolete, as rated powers have increased significantly since. For a hybrid Wind/Diesel system however, the capacity utilized in these wind regimes proved to be more than enough.
Wind penetration rates of 70% were averaged with the system running. The control system, never tested outside experimental conditions required several modifications.
To overcome grid stability issues, power electronics controlling resistive dump loads were gradually added to the system.
To achieve higher efficiency gains, resistive dump loads -generating essentially wasted heat- can be substituted by electrochemical loads. This opens new perspectives into the integrated use of region’s abundant wind resource.
Whereas electrolytic loads enhance access to wind-electricity, cogenerated hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine and caustic are common feedstock used in processing minerals available locally.
Besides meeting sustainability and resource maximization criteria’s, extractive industries become cleaner and more inclusive.
Through on-campus deployments of semi-industrial electrolyzer units coupled to wind turbines, these possibilities are currently being tested at partnering universities in Morocco and Mauritania.