Microgrids U.S. Army RDECOM test new WindTamer portable wind turbine system at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Published on May 6th, 2011 | by Tina Casey


All-in-One Portable Wind Turbine Tested (and Liked) by U.S. Army

May 6th, 2011 by  

U.S. Army RDECOM test new WindTamer portable wind turbine system at Aberdeen Proving GroundThe WindTamer Corporation has come up with what looks like the kitchen sink of renewable energy, combining a wind turbine with a micro-mini smart grid, solar energy and power storage. The U.S. Army’ RDECOM (Research, Development and Engineering Command) has been testing a portable version of the wind turbine system, called “Power on Demand,” and so far they like what they are seeing. WindTamer has also installed stationery versions for several small businesses. The appeal of the system is its ability to smooth out spikes in supply and demand, and deliver a steady and reliable stream of energy by switching seamlessly between multiple sources.

WindTamer’s Mobile Wind Turbine System

The mobile version of the WindTamer was developed by the company in partnership with RDECOM engineers. The turbine, which looks like an oversized bullhorn, is mounted on a trailer that is also equipped with solar panels and an onboard energy storage system. If needed the system can draw power from the grid but the goal is to have a rapidly deployable, fully mobile off-grid system that can supply 100% of its users’ energy needs from wind and solar, using an advanced storage system to smooth out spikes in supply and demand. The system was installed last August at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and so far RDECOM officials are pleased with the results, as reported at length by Gene Marcial over at forbes.com.

Micro Wind Turbines for Everyone

Marcial also describes WindTamer’s business angle, which is to provide individual companies with their own energy storage capabilities along with wind and solar power, so they can avoid drawing power from the grid during the more expensive peak use periods. This could make the system cost-competitive with conventional energy even in locations where wind and solar access are not nearly sufficient to meet a company’s overall demand. The available wind and solar only need to be enough to recharge the batteries between peak use periods.

Peak Demand and Cheap Energy

WindTamer execs are not the only ones realizing that alternative energy can be more cost-competitive by focusing on peak demand pricing. Researchers at the University of California, for example, have come up with a solar installation calculator linked Google Earth, which enables homeowners and solar installers to calculate the most efficient angle for solar panels during peak use periods when grid-supplied energy is more expensive.

Note: WindTamer’s Board of Directors has approved a name change for the company, to Arista Power, Inc., pending approval at an upcoming shareholder meeting.

Image: RDECOM logo courtesy U.S. Army RDECOM on flickr.com.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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  • Anumakonda Jagadeesh

    Innovative Gadget.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  • Brian Leyde

    That kind of implies that (in a small business context) it will operate as a battery back up system with a small bit of renewable energy input. This means it will only be cost competitive if it’s price is capable of beating traditional battery back up using off peak grid power.

    For the military on the other hand it’s likely to be a wonderful money saver when compared to shipping diesel fuel through combat zones to run generators. It’s good that they are taking point on this kind of technology as their cost/incentive structure makes it well worth while. Eventually the tech will improve and trickle back. Just not quite yet.

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