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Wind Energy

Published on January 27th, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz


The Impossible Wind Turbine Design That Just Might Work

January 27th, 2009 by  


Adam Fuller has dedicated his life— and his life savings— to disproving the wind industry’s claim that vertical turbines are ineffective. Last week, I had a chance to talk to the Racine, Wisconsin inventor about his 12 foot diameter, 36 foot tall patent-pending wind turbine.

Fuller’s design consists of 8 turbines that each have 4 structural steel wind scoops. There are multiple points of impact for the wind to hit, so even the slightest breeze will spin the blades. So far, the prototype has worked flawlessly.

While nobody has ever made an ultra-large scale vertical turbine before, Fuller thinks his design is an excellent candidate.

“I’ve been able to demonstrate that for every 10 feet of baffle, there’s a 300 percent increase of output with the rotor. So my thought is that a 40 foot baffle will increase output by 1200 percent. If the 40 foot baffle system is successful, that means that 1 turbine and baffle system (about $200,000), would have the same amount of power as 12 turbines without baffles (about $150,000 ), so there’s financial efficiency. That’s a big change,” he explained.

Eventually, Fuller wants to build a 120 foot model of his turbine. He estimates that it could produce 30,000 to 75,000 kWh each month—enough for 30 to 70 homes.

Whether Fuller’s dreams of a large scale vertical turbine come to fruition depends on future funding for his project. Fuller was previously funded by an investor who lost most of his money in the current economic crisis. Now he hopes to get money from a government grant.

Once Fuller has some cash in his pocket, he believes his design can go straight to commercial production. “After our organization achieves some credibility, it won’t be difficult to find R&D money, especially with so much evidence that the turbine works. This thing is ready to go to market. “

The Walworth County News posted a video of Fuller explaining his design here:


Photo Credit: Adam Fuller 


About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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