Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Suman Acharya



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Jeffrey G. Marchetta

Committee Member

John I. Hochstein

Committee Member

William S. Janna


The global increase in energy demand combined with socioeconomic, political and environmental concerns associated with fossil fuels have increased the interest in alternative sources of energy. A wind turbine converts mechanical energy in the wind into the kinetic energy and to electrical energy. A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts fuel and oxidant into electricity and water with up to 83% efficiency. Flooding is a limitation of fuel cells and occurs when water cannot be expelled from the polymer electrode membrane at a sufficient rate to maintain a continuous reaction. This study presents a small-scale prototype hybrid wind turbine/fuel cell system that combines two demonstrated alternative energy technologies in an effort to achieve a higher efficiency electrical generator through the reduction of flooding in the fuel cell. In the hybrid system, the fuel cell is mounted on the rotating shaft of the wind turbine in order to increase the rate of water removal in the fuel cell membrane. The small-scale hybrid wind turbine and the fuel cell electrical generator is tested in a wind tunnel and power measurements are obtained for the hybrid system over a range of wind speeds. The experimental results show that the proposed hybrid system is technically feasible and that the rotation increases the fuel cell efficiency up to 10% when compared to a stationary fuel cell.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.