Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

May 19

WindCube Generates Electricity in Moderate Wind

Posted in Energy Inventions | Wind Power | Wind Turbines

WindCube Wind power is the fastest growing industry in the alternative energy sector. Wind turbines generate clean and green power for us but they have certain precondition. One of it is the power unit has to be set up in strong wind area. But Green Energy Technologies has developed a brand new wind power generator known as the WindCube. It is smaller compared to the normal wind generator. WindCube is specially designed to set up on the roof of a building in urban and rural areas. WindCube carries a 22 x 22 x 12 feet framework and its single unit can produce a maximum of 60kW of power. Mark L. Cironi, who is the president and founder of Green Energy Technologies, explains, “Building owners anywhere can consider being a part of the renewable energy picture. With WindCube, it’s not necessary to have the wind of Kansas or Nebraska to become a generator of wind power. In states with excellent renewable energy incentives, moderate wind and high electric rates, the payback can be as little as three years.”


The WindCube operates on the wind tunnel effect known in physics as the Bernoulli’s Principle. The specialty of the WindCube is it captures and amplifies the wind which generates more power. How it works? As the wind passes through the WindCube covering, it becomes concentrated resulting in increased velocity that leads to more power generation. Due to amplification effect, WindCube can arrest the wind energy as low as 5 mph.

How does WindCube work? It creates power by moving its motor backwards with the help of an impeller. It eliminates the need for a gear box. Elimination of gearbox solves many problems such as maintenance and failures. It also lowers the cost of ownership. WindCubes potential consumers can be industrial companies, commercial office buildings, big-box retailers, college campuses, and electricity users in remote locations.

Roth Bros. Inc. (Youngstown, OH), which is a national energy management, HVAC and roofing services company, will render its services to WindCube customers with 24/7 monitoring of energy usage. They will accomplish it with the help of using an online remote system especially designed for the WindCube. Roth will also step in for installing the WindCube turbines at each customer’s location. They will do the needful in the area of initial site analysis to commissioning also. Roth can make available post-installation preventive maintenance and service on the units. Building owners, managers, and developers can also gain from the renewable energy credits from green building programs like LEED and Green Globes.With Net metering in operation, Stimulus Bill tax credit facility can be availed.

Net metering is a simple, low-cost, and easily- manageable device that aims for the use of small scale wind energy systems. When a consumer generates more electricity than is required in a building with the help of an onsite generation system such as the WindCube, the existing electricity meter spins backward. This results in a credit to the electricity bill.

When we go for a new product we look for the ease of application and scalability. WindCube satisfies both of these criteria and presents one of the first viable opportunities for commercial distribution of wind-power generation facilities to residential markets and businesses as well .

  • http://www.mikebarrett.ca Mike

    Hi There,

    I am a musician and performer interested in social and ecological issues in relation to how we live now and how we could be living in the near future. I think that this is an excellent design, it reminds me a little of sail power and how a sail works by covering a lot of space to catch the wind. I recently attended a talk on wind power at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, where I currently live. There seem to be so many variables in current wind turbine designs that aren’t very efficient unless they are in the utmost prime conditions for wind harvesting, making them inconsistent. I feel like wind power is a very viable energy source, but still requires a lot research to find the right formula, and perhaps the formula will be differ from place to place. Another thing that comes to mind is storage. Are there any advances in cleaner, more efficient battery technologies? It would be great to see cities implementing these sources of technology, I would feel more like we’re in the year 2009! Thanks for this!

    Mike

  • http://www.truenorthpower.com Dave Cooke

    Shrouding turbines is not new and there are good reasons why it’s not done universally . . especially on buildings . . . which can better be thought of as “Turbulence generators” . . mostly it’s just less efficient to try and capture energy near structures since it’s rarely smooth laminar flow air and even more rare that lasts very long. Shrouds do something good occasionally under ideal circumstances while a smaller better placed 3 blade HAWT will outperform.

    There is lots new with batteries if you ask any battery supplier but I’ve not heard of anything that provides any significant edge over plain old lead and acid whether it’s flooded, AGM or gel.
    If you’ve heard of any let me know I’m interested

  • Jos Conil

    This is an excellent innovation, a great leap forward in wind power technology. It is best suited for campuses and big buildings rather than residences.

  • Boneheaded1

    Storage is a problem depending on the scale. When it’s wind, solar, tidal, wave, etc. you need to make use of every drop of power while it’s available. But if it’s utility scale you are talking about then “pumped storage hydro electric” is the way to go. Essentially it’s two large reservoirs one at a higher elevation. Excess power in the grid is used to pump water to the upper reservoir, when excess power is needed, the water flows to the lower reservoir through turbines which generate electricity.

    Granted this isn’t the most efficient as it takes more power to move the water up than is generated in coming down, but it’s currently the best way to store large amounts of power for use when needed. Plus, it wouldn’t take battery production capacity away from all the electric/hybrid cars we’ll be driving soon.

    It takes approximately 4.72 acre feet of water to produce 1 MwH (Megawatt hour) of electricity (an approximate flow of 57 cubic feet per second). An area the size of two football fields (American or “soccer” as they are close in size) that is 25 feet deep is approximately 100 acre feet of water. This would be about 20 MwH, before needing to be recharged (refilled).

  • boneheaded1

    Correction: the area of approximately 4 football fields 25 feet deep make up 100 acre feet.

  • russ

    OK – a 20 kW unit costing 4.50 to 6.00 per watt is 90 to 120,000 USD – from their site

    Question – have they overcome or found a way around Betz’s law – I doubt it.

    The average wind velocity considered of 7 meters per second is found in very few places in the US or elsewhere around the world.

    They do not provide any power curve on their site – only advertising.

    The thing will take one rather large foundation – it will not be added on to the top of any building as an afterthought – a building would have to be designed specifically for this turbine.

    The most important item under the economics section is the state & federal incentive section – without that it is dead! Let your grandkids pay for foolishness of today in the years to come!

    Commercial wind is different – it is on a practical wind speed (normally) and without the “pie in the sky” this kind of stuff includes.

  • Will

    I agree, all these companies that produce these new designs need to include some actual windspeed/power output data as there are so many bogus claims out there. I will be doing my masters dissertation on shrouded turbines and will be able to provide some concrete data on how good funnels/diffusers and shrouds can be. There are many computer model simulations out there but very little actual data. Even if they are a good idea with the insane price tags attached to these designs, they will never be popular.

  • Gail Feddern

    Chicago, the Windy City, should provide plenty of skyscraper rooftops for the new wind technology.

  • russ

    Hi Will – be interesting to see some concrete, accurate data about residential wind. Looking forward to it in time to come.

    Gail – for the windy city some facts – wind speed averages over 44 years in mph as follow: Jan – 11.6, Feb – 11.4, Mar – 11.8, April – 11.9, May – 10.5, June – 9.3, July – 8.4, Aug – 8.2, Sept – 8.9, Oct – 10.1, Nov – 11.1, Dec – 11.0

    Nothing special there and these figures are at typical measurement elevations – no roof tops which are much lower.

    Roof top turbines have a great story in Japan where at one location they powered them from the grid so they would turn and not look so foolish.

    I have yet to read anything positive or see any positive data about VAWTs or roof top types – the only party they make happy is the salesman!

  • marcus

    Chicago is called the windy city because of its politicians, not its wind.

  • russ

    OK Marcus – I stand corrected! Maybe the hot air can be used then!

    Skyscrapers make poor platforms for turbines due to the disrupted air flow patterns they cause.

    Any civil engineer would have a heart attack if you told him you would add a massive wind load to the top of most any structure not designed for it.

  • Will

    Its true, if you look at wind patterns above square edged rooftops, the high pressure area that develops on the building wall pushes the wind up and over the roof, most of which goes up and over a space about 6m above the roof top (depending on wind speed) so on a skyscraper there is essentially a turbulent wind pocket, despite the elevation. Maybe putting airfoils on the roof edge might solve the problem.

    However domestic v-shaped roofs are ideal for acting as the base of a wind funnel. And domestic renewable energy is where we really need to be at at this stage in the game. I live in the windiest country in Europe (Scotland) and I NEVER see ANY wind turbines out and about.Thats a market just crying out for a solution!! I have a new design however that combines all the best features of wind turbines and eliminates all the problem issues (following 1 year of solid in-depth research). Will keep you posted,prototype construction completed, experimentation starts this week now I have finished my exams!

    Will, Napier uni, Edinburgh.

  • Will

    P.s Russ, thats comical about japan! Powered BY the grid!!. Your wind speed data looks good (mph = m/s*2 approx.). In Edinburgh on high rooftop we recorded only 3-4m/s (6-8mph) but again on top of square high-rise. Not enough for normal turbines to be financially viable. My biggest beef about turbines is the price tags these developers put on them. – “hmm, mercedes or wind turbine”? I just built a 700W turbine for £60. Without spending £150 on a wind power guidebook.

    Wind power is there. we are ready. Just remove the corporate greed.

    Will

  • Chris L.

    You’ve got to watch out for snake oil vendors in the wind energy business. A good equation to remember is that the power contained in the wind is equal to:

    P = 1/2pAV3

    Where p is air density (typically around 1.22kg/m3 at see level), A is swept area (m2) and V is the air velocity in m/s. This is the power contained in the wind itself. The turbine will be able to convert <60% of that to electricity (according to Betz’ limit).

    According to the manufacturer, this unit produces 60 kW at 12m/s with a swept area of 16.4m2. If you run those numbers, the power in the wind itself is only 17.3 kW. Now I understand that the shroud utilizes the Bernouli principle to increase air velocity, but I find it extremely hard to believe that it is capable of increasing it by 600%, which it would need to do to produce rated output.

    Bottom line, this thing doesn’t obey the laws of physics. I wouldn’t purchase anything from these guys until they release some realistic performance data.

  • http://www.truenorthpower.com Dave Cooke

    GOOD ANSWER CHRIS!
    Nothing spoils a beautiful theory like an ugly fact.

  • Will

    I think these guys have made the mistake of calculating power ouput from internal rotor area X external windspeed, when they should measure external speed X external funnel area OR internal windspeed X internal area. The figures are definetly not feasable in terms of the laws of physics.

  • Doug

    Love the negativity….the ABC “Earth 2100” scenario will likely occur. We need to do something & everything!!

    If you get out of the turbulant area and get it into the straight winds, it should work.

  • Frank

    All they have done is created an effect to accelerate a larger volume of air through the turbine.

    The power output of any turbine, shrouded or not, would quadrupal if you increased the wind speed by 50% (5 m/s to 7.5 m/s) so this is correct.

    I assume then that the Benz law if calculated for the larger parcel of air (not just the rotor diameter size) that is effected by the shroud still holds for the higher power output.

    If this is correct then the only value of the shroud is it allows the use of smaller blades for the same amount of power. However the trade off is you need to build this giant shroud, which has wind load issues. I guess you would then have to leave it to the structual engineers, but buildings hold chillers, etc. so maybe.

    It is just a tradeoff. But the results aren’t necessarily flawed or unrealistic.

  • Will

    Doug – Sorry for the negativity, Ive been designing my own shrouded/funneled turbine now for a year and am currently writing my dissertation so like to think i know something about it. I actually think they will work, but we need realistic claims in order for them not to be laughed out of hand.

    I feel this is the best way of thinking about it – for a given rotor OR funnel area you can capture, you can only have so much power. Period. So how do you make the wind speed quadrouble (50% faster)? you need to push 4 times harder. or you need 4 times more area of push concentrated onto one area. So if you compare a shrouded funnel size with an unshrouded rotor size, they will have to be the same for the same output, all other factors ignored. The DIFFERENCE lies in the efficiency of the rotor once the wind has been forced into a closed area and cant go around the rotor (although it will still go round the funnel mouth). Research suggest much better efficiency, close to or just maybe above the betz limit since the wind then has a huge area behind the rotor to expand into at lower speeds (note that hydro turbines achieve 90% efficiency because the water with energy extracted after hitting the turbine rotor just falls out of the way with gravity).

    The problems are resistance from boundary layer effects of the shroud, and back pressure, and choked flow. The funnel will magnify wind intensely at low wind speeds, but at high wind speed the shroud will be full of high pressure and incoming wind will mostly go round the outside of the shroud (check out the WEB-concentrator building design for proof of this – http://www.eru.rl.ac.uk/web.htm) instead of through the middle. If your still not convinced, try sitting on an airbed and letting the air out of the nozzle, then see how much power you can get out of the airstream by varying the size of the hole.

    I like this shroud design, but realistic data is needed. I saw their graphs on their website, they are not actual data graphs. Most of my professors are convinced these ideas wont work. We need real data to prove them wrong.

  • Doug

    Will, I agree that more data is needed. I spoke with someone at the company today and he said they are underway with the California Energy Commission testing, so we will all see how that goes…

    Certainly, wind locations with less than 10mph average will not benefit from this, or any, turbine.

    Also, a big issue is the airfoil design. Many small wind turbines lack a sophisticated airfoil.

    On a different note, distributed generation of all kinds is needed given the increase in electric demand we are facing. Also, people need relief from using diesel generators… a lady I spoke with from Hawaii said they were experiencing 55-cent per kWh rate when oil was at its peak. Island locations are suffering and need relief under these scenarios… and in these cases–solar (even without incentives) becomes attractive. I guess we are just spoiled with cheap electricity right now… which is both fortunate and unfortunate.

  • Will

    Very true Doug, I was actually really happy when the price rises in our country effected oil and electricity, as it suddenly got people thinking about other options like distributed generation, and not wasting. I often preach to friends and relatives about energy saving lightbulbs etc etc, but it does feel like preaching rather than educating, although it shouldn’t. When the price rises hit though suddenly everyone was, suddenly interested, but prices have gone down again (for the moment).

    I now run 70% f lighting and my computer from solar panels with mirror reflector collectors outside outside our highrise flat window, but I think I’m the only one in the whole city with PV at home (Scotland doesn’t get much sun).

    Again referring to earlier comments, once prices for renewable devices get lower and oil gets higher, things will really start to move. Glad you spoke to someone at the company. would love this windcube to be a success. Will look forward to the data. Thought at this stage they wold have already built a small scale model and rigorously tested it.

  • errolmacajelos

    Wind farms are becoming common in rural areas of the U.S and industry association says last year alone, wind power capacity in America grow by 45%. Mostly wind power is generated by large propeller that can only be placed on the country side.But most people would rather have a residential wind power system in their homes for four main reasons. First and foremost, wind power for homes is for free. Second, wind power is favored by environmentalists because it does not harm the environment. Unlike other energy sources, wind power does not emit carbon dioxide – a harmful particle once released to the environment. Lastly, wind power is renewable and sustainable.

  • Adolfo

    New formula one racer cars design can be very usefull for this purpose.

  • http://www.abledesigneering.in Jagadish Hiremath

    This is an interesting product though many have done research before in similar lines. May be this is better step forward in development of alternative energy source than sending satellites for space exploration.

    True, 50% of this industry problem is storage device. we are working on Fly Wheel-Electro-Mechanical battery device. Plenty of challenges. We hope to achieve breakthrough later if not sooner. Anybody interested or involved in this, do write.

  • Linda

    I just read “Two Cents per Mile” – Will Obama make it Happen with the Stroke of a Pen. This book offers plenty of affordable, nonsensical, clean solutions to many of our global problems; author is electrical engineer.

  • Emil

    I’m retired and very interested in backyard generating systems. I worked in a chemical plant for nearly 27 yrs. I noticed that on days that were seemingly calm substantial winds flowed around the base of round storage tanks.

    I’d often thought of trying to build a small scale shrouded generator but in my years (74) I have witnessed quite a few incidences of something called straight line winds and hurricanes (south of Houston, TX USA. I don’t think these things would hold up very well because their moorings are inherently weakened so that they can turn in the wind.

    My passion of late is to build a motor using a truck air ride cylinder powered by butane or pentane injected through a solar water heated area to provide up to 120 lbs. I think I could drive a large flywheel and pump hydraulic fluid or water for storage. Some of these cylinders can lift up to 100,000 lbs. at 125 lbs. pressure. I could use some tech. help or ideas. The last hurricane slowed my progress on this.

  • tomh

    How much to reinforce the building to be able to handle the wind loads imposed by the turbine?

  • http://bellhelicopter.com Demano

    I’ve been installing wind generators for the last 5 years. Large scale is fine, but small scale is useless. Even the most “mature” designs I’ve use have been riddled with flaws. The most reputable suppliers (Southwest Windpower http://www.windenergy.com) have so many problems it’s uncanny. Don’t trust their power curves they are bogus. After five years I have come to a conclusion: Forget small scale wind! They are hard to install, hard to keep going, hard to sell. Take my advice, go solar! Plug in and forget about it! Nothing will ever go wrong with it. Wind may look cheaper at first, but when you do the math, solar will produce double on the average day than wind ever will. For a small scale turbine to do full output you need a wind of at least 8 meters per sec. (about 25 miles an hour). When was the last time a constant wind of 25 MPH lasted all day at your house?

    Demano

  • Peter Aleff

    I recently priced a conventional vertical wind turbine by mariahpower.com for one of the windiest areas of southern Rhode Island, on a hill about one mile from the beaches. This unit was 35 feet tall and cost US$13,500 installed, or about $6,000 after federal rebate and state write-off. It was of course way too big for mounting on a rooftop but required its own foundation to not shake the whole house to bits.

    For this trouble it would produce 2,000 kWhours a year, or $200 worth of electricity/year, while just 5 per cent interest on that investment costs $300 a year, without maintenance or depreciation and repairs. Not a good deal, and a waste of taxpayer dollars for the rebates tossed into this sinkhole!

    The Wind Cube people claim 160,000 kWhours per year with their much smaller-looking horizontal propeller. Although I know vertical turbines produce only about half the power of horizontal ones, and I grant that the shroud can concentrate the wind somewhat, that output figure appears to be way out of line.

    Moreover, how do you get that wind cube down from the roof when a hurricane or just a regular storm approaches and you don’t want it to take your roof down together with the wind cube anchored to it? Why do some of the wind cube pictures show it mounted on free-standing pillars despite the claim it goes on rooftops?

    Also, the common complaint that horizontal-axis wind generators can set up vibrations that annoy neighbors and give them headaches does not seem to make wind cubes suitable for urban environments.

    Sorry, but with the vagueness of the info offered about it, that wind cube looks at this time more like a hot-air cube.

  • http://imageevent.com/teddybears Bruce Norman

    Emil, I am sort of retired also I just tell my friends I’m between jobs. I have found an old Lister petter diesel to use for a generator set. I have about 15 different old generators around. I have a Chinese single cylinder diesel that must not be balanced too well as it has shaken apart the mounting frame and any thing attached to it. I just have it for emergency use. I have got started a wind generator from Hugh Piggots plans. The rare earth magnets are so strong most people I show them to can not separate one from another. I think they are 42 GAUSS in strength. I also got a used 20 KW UPS backup unit to run my freezers off and am collecting used sealed glass matt batteries to add to the duration of use it will provide. I have some ideas like you also about kinetic energy storage, the one form that will store and hold 100% of what you put into it for ever. Unlike the battery that has losses from various points. The wind is good. Only there are maintenance and lightning problems to deal with but much better all night long while the solar cells are just a supplement to the wind. God forbid your 20K$ solar array takes a hit from lightning. Any way, I am interested with your background and what you know about BHT and the amount per 1000 gallons of fuel to stabilize it etc. Have you any knowledge for fuel oil stabilization and BHT ? I have a lot of irons in the fire so to speak. I’m also making a bandsaw mill for the pines here on my property to use instead of burning them or selling them to a lumber mill, and then there is the balancing of the power factor here for the AC and other inductive loads….Bruce

  • William Ketel

    The “ducted cube”does seem interesting, but I agree that the claims seem to use a different physics than what I am familiar with. What I do see is a whole bunch of dishonest people attempting to rip-off others, selling assorted systems that can never meet the claims made for them. This will lead to the situation where non-technically-competent people will decide that since some of it did not work, that none of it will work, and worse yet, the government will step in and regulate it to death.

    Aside from that, I will probably put some wind powered generators on my radio tower in the future, knowing that they will not be as efficient as they could be, but not caring as long as I don’t have to pay the “Obama Wind Tax” that will be passed in the near future.

  • Will

    Obama is not going to pass a wind tax. You can only tax things you have to buy. Nonsense.

    Again, I repeat, wind turbines would work if they weren’t so expensive. Its price , tariff, installation and ‘tax’? That stops them being worthwhile.

  • Mike Johnson

    Although storage was mentioned, the main problem with nearly all alternative energy sources is dispatchability. The amount of fast-start fossil-powered generation required to maintain reliability is staggering! Don’t forget that huge investments in under-utilized infrastructure will have an impact on operating costs. The generation must be available to meet the demand. It is nearly impossible to schedule the demand to meet the available power.

  • ChrisV

    Storage is important, but let’s not overestimate the cost. The DOE report “20 in 30” cites many studies over the years, and the cost of balancing wind is in the $2 to $4 per MWh range. Since the levelized cost of energy for wind is around $100, that’s just 2 to 4% of the total. Significant, bit hardly overwhelming. And importantly, as far as Germany, Spain and Denmark have come with wind energy (11% to 20% of annual electricity production from wind), not a single extra peaking plant has been built to handle the wind energy. Not one.

  • kendra lee

    Fact: The gas fueled, internal combustion cars typically driven by Americans have deteriorated our environment.
    Think About It: Global warming can be halted with the zero emission 100% Electric Vehicles (EVs) that are made with NiMH batteries whose use is currently being suppressed by Chevron Oil Corporation.

    Fact: GM has been given $50Billion worth of our tax payer bail out money.
    Think About It: In 1996, GM had the car of the century, the EV1. The EV1 ran due to the NiMH battery patents acquired by Chevron Oil Corporation. GM crushed ALL OF THEIR CARS shortly thereafter. Why are our tax dollars paying to bail out our automotive industry when our same tax dollars paid for the invention of the NiMH batteries?

    Fact: In 2005 alone Chevron grossed over $125 Billion (Up 35% from 2004).
    Think About It: “?”

    Fact: President Obama’s stimulus plan includes The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that grants $2Billion to battery research.
    Think About It: The NiMH battery technology is proven with the past ten years of high performance of Toyota RAV 4 EVs made with NiMH batteries. Why waste more of our tax dollar money on technology we already have? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on our ailing health care system?

    Fact: President Obama can exercise Eminent Domain and /or Compulsory Licensing over the NiMH battery patents. This would definitely serve the greater good and we are at war, we are at dual-war actually.
    Think About It: The government has exercised Eminent Domain and /or Compulsory Licensing during much less desperate times and for purposes serving much less of the greater good. Yes, it comes at a price, but the amount paid to Chevron would be much less than ongoing cost of Reign of Big Oil.

    Fact: Over 30,000 U.S. soldiers have been injured or killed during the Iraq War.
    Think About It: What was this war all about? Why are our soldiers dying to preserve Iraqi Oil Fields when we have the battery patents to an emission free, alternative energy technology RIGHT NOW!

    Fact: You have not written your letter to President Obama yet imploring him to exercise Eminent Domain and /or Compulsory Licensing over the NiMH battery patents that would finally and truly free America from its dependence on foreign oil.
    Think About It: What are you waiting for? Read Two Cents per Mile: Will President Obama Make it Happen With the Stroke of a Pen?

  • Dr. Joe Pollani

    I have recently retired and am trying to learn about applied solar power. I have two projects: 1) solar energy to power my barn. I have replaced all lights with 13 watt CFL bulbs. However, I need to recharge my cordless power tools. 2)Next Spring I need to pump water out of my two+ acre pond for drip irrigation. I’ve searched the I’net, but still don’t quite know what to do. I’d be interested in some recommendations for literature that is aimed at the beginner. Thanks. Dr. Pollani

  • Emil

    Bruce, sorry but I can’t help with the fuel stabilizer problem. I do have the same problem with my propane. I have a 500 gal tank and made several changes that cut my use about 50% and the fuel stayed in the tank too long (started to act up) so I let the level get to 15% before I added only 150 gal so it wouldn’t get old. I plan to retire that 500 gal tank for a 150 or 200 gal size and use the 500 gal tank to store hot water anti-freeze mix to drive my motor when I get it going. Of course I’ll have to move it indoors to a stout foundation and insulate it really well.
    The single cylinder diesel gen. sounds like one we fought while in the service. It mostly beat the fuel tank mounts to death.

  • Will

    Just finished my research on funnel augmentation. Results concur with all other research. Funnels can augment power output by doubling and (maybe) tripling POWER, but you cannot double the wind speed, as this makes power output increase by 8. As you increase funnel size, power is increased, but the process becomes more inefficient the bigger the funnel gets, so if you have a rotor of 10m2 it will be about 30% efficient. If you have a 2m2 rotor inside a 10m2 meter shroud it will only be about 10% efficient. (calculating both for a swept area of 10m2)

    Since Windcube are claiming efficiencies over 100%, I cant wait to see their actual performance data.

  • russ

    Thanks for the update Will – good information!

  • Stuart

    Will,

    I’ve been following this conversation and I was sorry to see your last comment – I think. Can you explain the results of your research in simpler terms? What is your conclusion about the shrouded wind generator at this point as an option to make small-scale wind generation at lower elevations more feasible? Although the scale of the Wind Cube has potential for urban wind production (I am in NYC and have recently met the owner of the company), and although we all have doubts about the efficiencies that are being touted, the shroud interests me for conditions that don’t allow achieving the most optimal wind solutions, as in residential applications.

    As an architect, I have an influential role on my client’s interest in alternative energy generation. I have yet to find a small-scale wind generation system that I am confident discussing with my clients. And these are coastal areas of the northeast where average wind speed should, someday, be used to great effect.

    (As an aside, all shroud designs that I’ve seen to date have issues from a strictly aesthetic consideration. As an architect – and product designer – this concerns me.)

    Thanks for all your information to date.

  • Will

    Hey stuart, in simple terms, I took an omni directional funnel system spread out around a VAWT and measured performance with and without the shroud. The funnel entrance size was 8 times larger than the rotor. With the funnel in place the power output of the turbine increased by about 4 times at low windspeeds (2-4m/s. at higher windspeeds the improvement was less (around 2 times power improvement at 6-8m/s). Since the funnel size was eight times bigger the efficiency of the system dropped. In terms of power output and material costs it would make more sense just to put up a wind turbine 8 times bigger with no shroud.

    My opinion now is that smaller shroud or funnel ratios of around 3:1 MAY BE the best option – although less efficient than an unshrouded rotor, the shroud helps to maintain a higher windspeed and keep the turbine from constantly stalling and struggling to start in your average 2-4m/s urban windspeeds. This configuration may allow for a smaller quieter rotor and a more stable performance in turbulence.

    In terms of architecture, the funnel system i built would have ripped the roof off in a gale. Not very feasible in this respect. And no, they are not that pretty either.

    Hope some of this helps, i can clarify further if you wish.

    p.s

    I also have yet to see a micro turbine design that ticks all the boxes – the newer darrius type VAWTs (eg. the ‘Turby’) are definetly my favorites but the prices are astronomical. The next 2 years we should see conclusive trials that show if these types are better in urban winds than the old propellor HAWTs. Voting ‘no confidence’ on the Windcube until they print some actual data.

    Will

  • Will

    After 5 months I see windcube have no comeback to make about my last post. Interesting….


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Lateral Axis Wind Turbine Concept

Sri Lankan inventor Leelananda Jayasuriya just sent us this concept for a Lateral Axis Wind Turbine. The turbine functions just like a Ferris Wheel, with the blades orbiting in

Increasing the Efficiency of Wind Turbine Blades

Increasing the Efficiency of Wind Turbine Blades

To ensure wind turbines that are big in size work in a better manner, a new kind of air-flow technology may soon be introduced. Apart from other aspects,

The Wind Energy Industry is Nothing New

The Wind Energy Industry is Nothing New

Though our scientists may claim that they are inventing something new by using wind as a source of generating energy, the truth is that wind is being used for

South Korea Planning Massive Off Shore Wind Farm

South Korea Planning Massive Off Shore Wind Farm

Wind energy currently meets a mere 1.5% of global electricity generation. But scientists foresee a lot of potential in this alternative energy source. Asian countries are also trying to

Wind Energy Instruments getting Bigger & Better

Wind Energy Instruments getting Bigger & Better

Renewable energy production and demand growth is gaining momentum in many ways across the world. There is a booming demand of wind power today and all wind energy equipment

Fresh-Water Wind Farm on Lake Erie

Fresh-Water Wind Farm on Lake Erie

A fresh-water wind farm is taking shape at Lake Erie and when completed will provide 20 megawatts and get on to about one gigawatt power by 2020. Huge individual