Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines: The Future of Micro Wind? (Video)

vertical axis wind turbine Walking the floor of WINDPOWER 2008, the annual conference and trade show for the wind energy industry, one couldn’t help but be transfixed by all of the different types of turbines – at least I couldn’t. The wind turbine has become the iconic of clean, renewable energy. But the classic three-bladed horizontal axis wind turbine, with its gracefully swooping blades, has become the symbol of not only renewable energy, but also of environmental consciousness and ecological possibility.

Despite the ubiquity of the three-bladed turbine, the oft-overlooked vertical-axes turbines are making quite a splash in the world of wind energy, especially in small and micro-applications. So what’s all the fuss about? Vertical-axis turbines apparently do not suffer from some of the same problems that plague small wind applications in urban settings including, aesthetic concerns, space requirements and sound levels

Other advantages of vertical-axis turbines:

  • Can produce up to 50% more electricity per year than conventional turbines with the same swept area;
  • Generate electricity at much lower wind speeds, as low as 4 mph (1.5 m/s)
  • Will continue to generate power in high wind speeds, up to 130 mph (60m/s) depending on the mode;
  • Direct-drive units with no gearbox means a more efficient transfer of energy and no leaking oil;
  • Will not harm wildlife, in terms of bird and bat strikes.

Below, I’ll cover some more basic differences and show you a few photos and short videos of some of these turbines I saw down in Houston at WINDPOWER 2008.

The designers from Taiwanese start-up A.N.I.T.A. Energy (pictured above) showed me why their models have a low start-up wind speed, and that is because of the light metal bands you can see surrounding the turbine itself. Apparently this design allows users with a less substantial wind resource (particularly those in urban applications), squeeze some electricity from the local winds. The larger model pictured above (and in the second video below) is scalable and can be stacked as many as three-high and integrated with the rooftops of large buildings. (Caution: the mic used for this video was very sensitive to the sound of the electric blower at the display. This is not the sound of the turbine. Adjust your volume accordingly!)

Unlike three-bladed designs, vertical-axis turbines do not need to “right themselves” into the wind, they are always in a fixed position in terms of their orientation. A few of the models I saw, most notably the designs from the Korea-based KR Windpower, (video above) had a manifold-type device that would swing around and funnel more wind into the turbine from the direction the wind was strongest. Continued…


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Pages: 1 2

Written By

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

Miracles do happen: West Virginia policy makers prep for a renewable energy future including a just transition to green jobs.

Clean Power

Arkansas is deploying its natural solar power resources for a green recovery, with an assist from GM and First Solar.


UpriseEnergy was the only wind innovation that passed my sniff test in 2013, and they've just delivered a solid win and demonstration. Onward and...

Clean Power

Small wind turbines are the focus of a push to grow the distributed wind sector in the US, with help from the Energy Department.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.