Published on December 27th, 2009 | by Tina Casey9
Mass Megawatts Could Bring More Efficient Wind Power to Ski Resorts
Mass Megawatts Wind Power, Inc., is testing new wind turbine equipment that could help boost the efficiency of the company’s Multi-Axis Turbosystem wind power generators. The tests are under way at a wind power installation in Hunter, New York.
If successful, the technology could start appearing soon at ski resorts in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Last spring the principal owner of one major ski facility in the region, Camelback Mountain Resort, took an equity position in a licensed manufacturer of the Multi-Axis Turbosystem. It appears to be a first step toward introducing sustainable wind power to ski resorts on an industry-wide scale.
Wind Power from the Multi-Axis Turbosystem
The Mass Megawatts Multi-Axis Turbosystem is a boxy-looking structure composed of stacked turbines connected to generators. The design has several advantages over the taller, three-bladed turbines that have become iconic fixtures in the wind power industry. One key element is the location of the drive train and generator at ground level, which is expected to reduce vibration-related stress and contribute to lower maintenance costs. At least partly due to its higher visibility, the Turbosystem is also expected to result a minimal number of deaths to migratory birds and other wildlife. It requires less steel to construct and can be made largely from simple-off the shelf parts, and Mass Megawatts claims that the turbines are practically silent.
More Efficient Wind Power
At the Hunter installation, the company is trying out its patent-pending Wind Augmenter, which so far has resulted in a 50% increase in wind speed. The new equipment also includes a patent-pending Wind Diverter, which has doubled power output from the blades. The end result has been a tripling of energy production from the system. As reported in masshightech.com, the augmenter and diverter combine to funnel more wind to the blades, while reducing drag on the rear of the blades.
Wind Power and Ski Resorts
Many ski resorts have adopted more sustainable operating practices as a matter of survival, and the shift to wind power is a good fit for windy mountain areas. The typical resort requires an enormous amount of energy to run lifts, and other equipment, along with the lodge and other housing. A wind powered snow maker has already made an appearance at one resort in Massachusetts has already adopted wind Many resorts are also expanding off-season activities in order to generate more income year-round, which is bound to increase the demand for energy. Arthur B. Berry III, the President and principal owner of Camelback, sees wind power as a safe, cost-effective competitor with fossil fuels, which would enable the industry to continue growing in a more sustainable way.
Image: Ski lift by Sweeneytoad on flickr.com