Yeah, that doesn’t look like your normal wind turbine, does it? But this new wind turbine by Sauer Energy is not 100% unique — it features some great new innovations, but is built on an existing wind turbine design that seems to becoming a more and more popular, a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) design.
Micro Turbine Advantages and Growth
Micro turbines like this are attractive, in general, for one of the simple reasons solar panels are so attractive — individuals can easily put them on their homes and businesses. Plus, with wind energy as a whole growing rapidly (it is actually the fastest-growing form of renewable energy), it is only inevitable that some people would like to bring traditional, large-scale turbines down to a more human or household scale.
Regarding the advantages of micro turbines that can be installed on an office building or a hospital, Sauer Energy points out:
Economically, onsite installations dramatically improve the return on investment of wind power, not to mention the rebates now in the offering. Power generated offsite, such as at wind farms, is still subject to transmission and distribution charges. Conversely, onsite solutions take a portion of the organizational power requirements “off the grid.”
While I believe that large-scale, centralized energy will always have its place, I am also one who believes that more decentralized, micro-scale electricity generation needs to and is becoming a bigger part of the electricity supply — 13% of utilities actually believe that centralized electricity will be obsolete by 2050.
Furthermore, micro turbines address “a number of [wind turbines'] known shortcomings, such as noise pollution, minimum blade speed threshold, bird endangerment and space limitation, while enhancing its advantages.”
Addressing the Limitations of Micro Turbines
The problem with micro turbines has historically been that they are not the most efficient electricity generators.
Sauer Energy’s new VAWT design is helping to address that. Our friend Timothy Hurst over at Earth & Industry writes: ”its dimpled design could make it more efficient at capturing and converting wind into usable electricity. Officials from Sauer believes its unique aerodynamics and advanced design features will distinguish its wind turbine system in the residential and micro wind-turbine market.”
Advantages of the company’s design, according to Sauer Energy, itself, are as follows:
A traditional horizontal blade design turbine of similar size requires a greater level of wind speed to generate power. The vertical axis turbines provide omni-directional wind collection. The torque produced allows it to make power while turning at slower blade speeds.
It only takes a 6 mph wind to turn the blade. One benefit of this feature is obvious: It can work at locations with lower average wind speeds. Therefore, the geographic option for using wind energy is greatly expanded; a company may not need to be located on a hilltop or in coastal locations to reap the benefits. Plus, it reduces wind direction limitations, because it can collect wind power on a 360-degree basis. Horizontal blade technology must spend time and energy turning into the wind when the wind changes direction.
This new technology looks like a promising step forward in the micro wind turbine market, and in the wind energy market in general.
Any more comments or information on this technology? Comment below.
More stories on vertical-axis wind turbines on CleanTechnica:
- Offshore Vertical Axis Wind Turbines
- CalTech Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Boost Wind Farm Power Efficiency 10x
- Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines — An Option for You?
Image Credit: Earth & Industry
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.