Vertical axis wind turbines are an intriguing technology that most people still know little about. The turbines we are accustomed to use blades to turn a horizontal axis (which is often housed in the little cupola on the top of the turbine's tall stem). Vertical axis turbines turn a vertical shaft (picture a barber's pole) to generate power. Helix Wind, a US maker of some very slick looking vertical axis wind turbines, has struck a deal with a West African telecom company to power cell phone towers with wind. This allows the towers to operate autonomously without transmission lines or diesel generators.Vertical axis turbines are well suited for crowded urban settings because they can operate in tighter quarters and are purported to be quieter. Helix Wind has announced that it has delivered systems to Eltek NSG, a Nigerian telecom company, for testing on cell towers. US test projects are also expected to be underway by November 2009. Helix Wind claims that its turbines will pay for themselves in at little as six months. If things go to plan in West Africa, this could lead to hundreds of such setups around the region.
Ian Gardner, CEO of Helix Wind...
"There is a tremendous opportunity for Helix Wind in the cell tower markets in developing countries and remote applications. Currently such towers are powered by diesel generators, which are bad for the environment and extremely expensive to operate. Anywhere the power grid is unreliable, expensive or simply non-existent, wind is an ideal renewable energy resource able to power these towers and reduce their operating cost."
Helix Wind makes its distinctive turbines in a sizes with outputs ranging from 300 watts and 50 kilowatts. The company recently contributed a small system (its S322, with a price of $7,500) to the Zero Energy Idea House, an interesting demonstration green home project in Bellevue, Washington. The system is wired up with Helix's proprietary energy monitoring system, and dwellers of the Idea House will be able to monitor the turbine's output via PC.
More on Vertical Axis Wind:
Vertical Wind Turbines May Get A Chance On Malmö City Rooftops
New York City Building Water Towers Could be Turned into Wind Turbines
Windspire Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Wins PopSci Award, Maker Opens New Factory
The Aerogenerator: 9MW Vertical Axis Turbine