When inventor Gene R. Kelley first looked at conventional wind turbines churning away in the California wind he thought them just magnificent. But after scribbling a few numbers, he realized how inefficient the design was. “Conventional turbines only capture about 5% of the energy that passes through a rotor sweep. There had to be a better way,” says Kelley.
Being a pilot, he started tinkering with wings and airfoils because they do the heavy lifting on aircraft, and eventually came up with a series of wings that would oscillate up and down. With the capability to drive a reciprocating device, the design is able to generate nearly 4,500 lb from 450 pounds of lift across a wing set with an incorporated mechanical advantage.
The simple design, now called WindWing Technology, uses few moving parts and takes significantly less capital to manufacture and install – about 33% of a conventional turbine of similar size, he estimates.”Maintenance costs will be commensurately lower, noise will not be a factor, bird destruction and other negative environmental issues also will be benign,” he says. Better yet, Kelley claims an efficiency of 40 to 50% or more from available wind energy capture.
His team has since formed W2 Energy Development Corp., (w2energycorp.com) to provide this alternative for renewable energy generation, one that can adapt to multiple applications, especially those more effectively powered without use of electricity such as pumping water or compressing gasses into liquids. What’s more, a higher energy-harvesting potential exists in the more widely available lower velocity wind areas not usable by turbines. Kelley says WindWing technology is scaleable and will provide output capacities to accommodate a greater range of applications closer to users who can incorporate the technology into their operations. A key element of the production plan is using local manufacturing, support equipment, services, and a local work force.
Filed Under: News, Turbines