Published on November 30th, 2015 | by Guest Contributor0
Small-Scale Wind Power Solutions with Be-Wind
Along with solar, geothermal, and hydropower, wind power is one of the solutions to our renewable energy future. And while most ideas of wind power include the giant, elegant, slow-spinning wind turbine towers that cover natural landscapes like oversized white pinwheels missing a few blades, this image is not always popular with NIMBY-ers.
But those tall wind turbines are so cost-effective at generating electricity that they are often a much cheaper option for new electricity generation than anything else — coal, nuclear, natural gas, or even solar. But this type of wind power requires a lot of infrastructure and a lot of capital: well over $1 million. They aren’t for small-scale off-gridders or for putting on the roof of an office building or factory.
Solar power has gotten so cheap that it is typically the first option for someone to consider when looking to live off the grid or stick a power plant on his or her roof, but solar isn’t the only game in town. And in situations where a person has good wind resources and/or limited solar energy potential, small wind turbines can still be a smart choice.
The small wind turbine market is dominated by what are essentially miniature versions of those giant wind turbines discussed above, as they tend to offer the most bang for the buck, but for many reasons, a buyer may prefer the design and advantages of vertical-axis wind turbines.
One new company in this vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) market is Be-Wind*, and it is also aiming to make this option more efficient and, presumably, more cost effective. It has three vertical-axis wind turbines on the market: the EOW-100, EOW-200, and EOW-300. I saw, in person, similar VAWTs on the roof of a super-efficient Greenpeace building in Germany last year, but Be-Wind’s VAWT design is unique. It is the only dual-axis vertical wind system with a deflector (diversion) shield on the market today.
This design originated in the aerospace industry, and Be-Wind claims that it is “the highest performing, most efficient, most reliable small Urban wind turbine in the market today.”
Explaining a little bit as to why the VAWT market is as tiny as it is today, Be-Wind also writes:
All vertical wind systems on the market today, regardless of their design and specifications are very inefficient because of the process in which they produce rotation and hence, convert the wind’s power generation capability into electricity. The same wind that creates rotation on any vertical system also creates resistance, as shown below. Because the parabolic drive side has a larger volume of airflow and force, it creates rotation, but rotation with resistance.
To learn more about how all of this translates into cost per kWh, connect with Be Wind.
*This article was sponsored by Be-Wind.