Wind turbine use is expanding throughout the world as a means to provide electricity without contributing to the increase in global-warming gases. Most commonly, very large, horizontal-axis turbines are constructed in fleets that are connected to national-level electrical grid systems. More recently, there has been a desire for more local, small-scale power production that can be used to power very specific pieces of equipment or buildings. Some of the small-scale turbines are designed differently from their larger counterparts-they are driven by drag forces rather than by lift. Drag-driven turbines are typically called Savonius turbines. This paper, which presents a historical perspective on Savonius turbines, will illustrate their potential for providing local power. Finally, we will discuss recent developments in analysis methods which intend to optimize Savonius turbines for powering cellular communication towers in developing parts of the world.
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