The roof tops of office building seem a good place for wind turbines but few are mounted there because of weight and complexity. Green Energy Technologies LLC in Akron, Ohio, may have a solution in the WindCube. It’s a 60 kW rooftop wind turbine for on-site power generation. The turbine’s shourd captures and amplifies the wind, say developers. The design fills a previously unmet need, says the company, for wind turbines that can be put in service in a small footprint and take advantage of the nation’s net metering laws.
The WindCube relies on the wind-tunnel effect of the Bernoulli Principle. “While the rest of the wind industry generates energy from freestream wind, our design captures and amplifies the wind, which produces more kilowatt-hours, ” says Green Energy President Mark Cironi. As wind enters the shroud, it concentrates, increasing in speed and hence, power. The company says the amplification effect lets the design capture energy from wind as low as 5 mph. What’s more, the unit has no gearbox. This lowers the cost of ownership, they say, because the gearbox is the source of most maintenance problems and failures on conventional wind turbines.
“Building owners anywhere can consider being a part of the renewable energy picture, ” adds Cironi. “And the design makes it unnecessary to have access to the wind on the Great Plains to become a generator of wind power, ” adds inventor John Fedor. “The payback can be as little as three years in states with renewable energy incentives, moderate wind, and high electric rates. ” The turbine comes as a single (60kW) or dual (120kW) unit and in rooftop or tower-mounted designs. The unit’s 22 x 22 x 12-ft frame is said to produces the same amount of energy as a traditional 50-ft dia. turbine.
The company adds that an average wind speed of about 15 mph is enough to let the design generate about 160,000 kWh/year. When an owner produces more electricity than is needed in a building, the electricity meter spins backward, providing a credit to the electric bill.
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