UPDATE: It turns out that this product was a fraud, and the proponent of it has been indicted for securities and wire fraud. You can read more about this at Paul Gipe's website Wind Works.
We get excited about new technologies; sometimes we jump the gun, so it is great to find a product that is new, different and actually available. It's a "Magnetically-Levitated Axial Flux Alternator with Programmable Variable Coil Resistance, Vertical Axis Wind Turbine' , and it has just come on the market. Designed by Thomas Priest-Brown and Jim Rowan in Canada and manufactured in Texas, it"solves 11 different problems that previously limited the development of vertical-axis wind turbines for generation of electricity ." The center hub floats on a magnet, and the coils that generate the power are at the outer ring, with magnets at the tips of the blades flying over them at high speed. It is designed for home installation in urban settings; It is only 4 feet high, so neighbours are unlikely to complain about its appearance. We asked about issues with ice and snow, and were assured that there was no problem. We also asked about noise (often a complaint) and was told that it was inaudible.
Unlike normal turbines, it doesn't mind a little turbulence, works well in developed areas, and gets an extra kick from something called "the roof effect" -evidently "A roof with a 10-foot vertical rise and a 30% angle will provide nearly a 200% increase in the amount of wind energy that is available to be turned into electricity. Compared to the same turbine just sitting on a pole, the roof effect increases the power yielded by operation of the wind turbine dramatically."
Specifications are impressive:
* Productivity: 1100 kWh/month in a 13 mph average wind
* Name Plate: 5 kW rated output in 28 mph wind at sea level with 80% relative humidity.
* Cut-In Speed: Less than 5 mph.
* Top Speed: Greater than 100 Mph.
* Economics: Fully burdened cost over 10 years is 3.5 cents per kW.
* ROI: If current bill is $300 per month or more, then ROI 3 years or less.
* Maintenance & Operation Costs: Minimal
* Deployment: Rooftop Urban or Rural Setting.
* Total Estimated Production Run 2006: 3,500 Units
* Production Units Ready Spring 2006