Vertical Wind Turbines – Silent and Useful?

I have just decided to do some research on Vertical Axis Wind turbines (aka (VAWT). I know about VAWT for several years and till now I thought they are still not enough durable and feasible solution for generating electricity from wind. But in the last two years there is a trend showing VAWT as more and more useful solution with home and industrial application.

But First: What is Vertical Axis Wind Turbine.

In vertical axis turbines the blades are connected to a vertical axis which is connected to the ground. All of the main components are close to the ground. The wind turbine itself is near the ground, unlike horizontal axis wind turbines where everything is high on a tower. There are two types of vertical axis wind turbines; lift based and drag based.

VAWTs have more drag than HAWTs because the blades revolve back into the wind. Because of this VAWTs aren not generally as efficient at extracting energy out of the wind as HAWTs.

So what are the latest trends in resolving VAWT issues and achieving best results with Vertical Axis Wind Turbines. I will show you a few examples below:

1. Domestic Wind Turbine solution:

A revolutionary new design for personal wind turbines wins top prize at the BSI Sustainability Design Awards 2007.

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The result is a unique design which uses vertical, rather than traditional horizontal, rotation. This feature gives a slower rotational speed, which allows the turbine to capture more energy from turbulent air flow, common to urban environments. It also means quieter operation.

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2. Pacwind‘s DELTA II:

This turbine produces an average of 5kw, but if the wind speed reaches 29mph it can produce up to 10kw. There is a lot of noise pollution during the day in the cities from vehicle traffic, helicopters/airplanes. This turbine is completely silent and does not contribute to the daily noise pollution.

3. And of course THE MAGLEV: The Super powered Magnetic Wind Turbine

Maglev concept image home page 325 Vertical Wind Turbines   Silent and Useful?

Maglev concept drawing illustrates the large, compact size of the 1 giga-watt Maglev installation in comparison to 1000 commercial wind turbines that would be required to produce the same power output.

This wind turbine efficiency is based on Magnetic levitation.How it works: the vertically oriented blades of the wind turbine are suspended in the air above the base of the machine, replacing the need for ball bearings. The turbine uses full-permanent magnets, not electromagnets therefore, it does not require electricity to run. The magnets are made from neodymium which leads to no energy loss through friction. And based on the magnetic levitation the maintenance costs are low the lifespan is of the generator is increased.

Main advantages in numbers over conventional wind turbines. For instance, the turbine is able to use winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s). Also it is able to operate in winds exceeding 40 m/s. Currently, the largest conventional wind turbines in the world produce only five megawatts of power. One large maglev wind turbine could generate one gigawatt of clean energy, enough to supply up to 750,000 homes. It also increases generation capacity by 20% over conventional wind turbines and decreases operational costs by 50%. And about the lifespan – 500 years!!! – I am speechless.

Maglev Official Site

4. Other VAWT (domestic and industrial) suppliers:

Helix Wind – I like their design

Mag-Wind

USA

The magnetically-levitated Mag-Wind design solves 11 different problems that previously limited the development of vertical-axis wind turbines for generation of electricity.

Cleanfield Energy

Canada

Our leading-edge 2.5kW VAWT is designed specifically for residential and commercial rooftops and can be used for both grid and off-grid application. The system was developed in a modular manner (1.5kW, 2kW & 2.5kW) and can be installed on virtually any existing home or business without the need to change any wiring.

WestTech Energy

Canada

This system is a residential rooftop mounted design which will produce up to one third of the home power needs. These units start rotating at approximately 7 mph (3m/s) and produce full power at 27 mph (12 m/s). The 1KW VAWT system is planned to be simple enough to be installed by a certified electrician.

Quietrevolution

UK

An elegant vertical-axis wind turbine, Quietrevolution is virtually silent and vibration free. Quietrevolution is ideally suited to both urban sites and exposed locations.

Alternative Energie Systeme

Germany

Manufacturer of small vertical axis wind generators.

Windterra Systems

USA

Blade design optimizes the turbine performance at typical lower wind speeds while designs yield a lower annual power output at typical wind speeds.

As a summary I think that Vertical Axis Wind Turbines can be useful soon. I am still not convinced that they have application on large industrial scale but for home use they are great. And they are silent….

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