maximum power point tracking, MPPT, power factor correction, PFC, wind turbine, low power, VIENNA, Buck-boost


In recent years, wind energy technology has become one of the top areas of interest for energy harvesting in the power electronics world. This interest has especially peaked recently due to the increasing demand for a reliable source of renewable energy. In a recent study, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) ranked the U.S as the leading competitor in wind energy harvesting followed by Germany and Spain. Although the United States is the leading competitor in this area, no one has been able successfully develop an efficient, low-cost AC/DC convertor for low power turbines to be used by the average American consumer. There has been very little research in low power AC/DC converters for low to medium power wind energy turbines for battery charging applications. Due to the low power coefficient of wind turbines, power converters are required to transfer the maximum available power at the highest efficiency. Power factor correction (PFC) and maximum power point tracking (MPPT) algorithms have been proposed for high power wind turbines. These turbines are out of the price range of what a common household can afford. They also occupy a large amount of space, which is not practical for use in one's home. A low cost AC/DC converter with efficient power transfer is needed in order to promote the use of cheaper low power wind turbines. Only MPPT is implemented in most of these low power wind turbine power converters. The concept of power factor correction with MPPT has not been completely adapted just yet. The research conducted involved analyzing the effect of power factor correction and maximum power point tracking algorithm in AC/DC converters for wind turbine applications. Although maximum power to the load is always desired, most converters only take electrical efficiency into consideration. However, not only the electrical efficiency must be considered, but the mechanical energy as well. If the converter is designed to look like a purely resistive load and not a switched load, a wind turbine is able to supply the maximum power with lower conduction loss at the input side due to high current spikes. Two power converters, VIENNA with buck converter and a Buck-boost converter, were designed and experimentally analyzed. A unique approach of controlling the MPPT algorithm through a conductance G for PFC is proposed and applied in the VIENNA topology. On the other hand, the Buck-boost only operates MPPT. With the same wind profile applied for both converters, an increase in power drawn from the input increased when PFC was used even when the power level was low. Both topologies present their own unique advantages. The main advantage for the VIENNA converter is that PFC allowed more power extraction from the turbine, increasing both electrical and mechanical efficiency. The buck-boost converter, on the other hand, presents a very low component count which decreases the overall cost and volume. Therefore, a small, cost-effective converter that maximizes the power transfer from a small power wind turbine to a DC load, can motivate consumers to utilize the power available from the wind.


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Graduation Date



Batarseh, Issa


Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Electrical Engineering








Release Date

March 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)