Generating Power In Urban Areas With Flat Wind Turbinesby +Sophie Wrobel, +EuroTech; Germany
Towering buildings and narrow roads in cities may not occur to you as potential power generating areas – but urban winds could be used to power flat wind turbines, putting all that unused roof space to good use under the grey English skies.
Visitors to the Keele University Science and Business Park may have noticed a recent installment to the area: a prototypical vertical-axis wind turbine installed by McCamley UK Ltd., a pioneering renewables company. They plan to install a 12kW model in the next six months.Traditional wind turbines face a few hurdles in the urban environment:
they are too large to fit within narrow spaces, and they require power to restart, once wind speeds drop below a certain threshold. The McCamley turbine does not require power to restart, being a self-starting turbine. During high gusting speeds, a self-regulating system keeps the turbine working efficiently at a consistent, steady speed. It can easily be retrofitted onto a roof without a supporting mast, and starts creating energy with wind speeds as low as 2-3 meters per second. Further, it is quieter and vibrates less than traditional wind turbines, as there is no downward force generated by the large blades on horizontal turbines.
Dr. Scott Elliott, CEO of MacCamley UK, comments: “Wind energy has huge potential in the UK, but the traditional wind farm models are just not effective and are certainly not suitable for urban environments. This leaves a huge gap in the market where businesses, residential blocks and other organisations could be benefiting from clean energy. We believe that this design has the potential to be the new face of wind energy and is completely scalable, from 12kW designs to larger megawatt designs... We are really looking forward to working towards our microgeneration certification over the coming months and realising the potential of the prototype.”
Jonathon Porritt, Chancellor at Keele University, says: “It’s really interesting to see McCamley’s vision for a new design of wind turbine come to fruition here at Keele. Sustainability is at the heart of everything the University does, so it’s a significant opportunity for the institution to assist a business on the science park in the development of this new technology. Not only will the turbine support our aim to continue reducing our environmental impact as a university, but will also provide a tool for students to engage with and learn more about the future of renewable energy.”
Personally, I believe there is still some room for improvement: although their prototype is less of an eyesore than air conditioning ventilation boxes on current buildings, I’ll be waiting for a more aesthetically appealing artistic version, that doesn’t quite look as boxy, before considering such an installment at home.Tags: #ScienceEveryday _____________________________________________________
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