Projects

PhD Research

I study in the E-Futures Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) at The University of Sheffield in the UK.

E-Futures brings together knowledge from across the academic disciplines to tackle energy related issues facing society today. The issue I have chosen to investigate is under what circumstances can locally manufactured small wind turbines provide a sustainable solution for rural electrification in developing countries. To answer this question, I am investigating the following key areas:

  • Power curve testing of locally manufactured machines to measure not only the performance of each model of wind turbine, but as the machines are manufactured locally, also the variation between the performance of each individual turbine.

Boom with anemometer and wind vane logging the performance of a 3m wind turbine at Achmore, Scoraig, Scotland

  • Case studies of wind-based rural electrification initiatives from around the world, looking to draw out the social, technical and economic factors that have lead to their success or failure in that particular local context.

    Wind turbine installed at a school in the rural community of La Florida in the Peruvian Andes by WindAid.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB)

EWB-Sheffield Wind Project

Over the past three years we have been building our very own Hugh Piggott wind turbine as an extra-curricular project. We’ve learned a huge amount from the experience, myself especially, as it inspired me to choose this current line of research. Our wind turbine will be installed at Whirlow Hall Farm, an educational trust on the outskirts of Sheffield, where it will generate renewable energy and help the school children that study there learn about energy sustainability.

Our wind turbine at Peace in the Park festival in Sheffield

We have designed and run a workshop on building model wind turbines from a small electric motor, a kitchen roll tube, a cork, newspaper, sellotape and drawing pins. Download the instructions for running the workshop here.

Our model wind turbine workshop with Year 9 children at Discover US

Engineering in Development

Engineering in Development is EWB-UK‘s first textbook. It will bring together the vast amount of knowledge that EWB-UK has gained over the past 10 years using case studies from its placement, bursary and research programmes. The book will be based around EWB-UK‘s communities of practice: energy, water & sanitation, industry, habitat, healthcare & mobility technologies and transport. Together with Samina Islam, I am co-ordinating the ‘Energy’ chapter.

 WindEmpowerment

WindEmpowerment is an association for the development of locally built small wind turbines for sustainable rural electrification. I co-ordinate the socio-economic workgroups within WindEmpowerment with the aim of better understanding how people interact with the technology.

jon.leary@sheffield.ac.uk

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