Conventional wind turbines on large masts are the standard for generating clean energy from the wind, but one startup believes that their unique design can "significantly outperform traditional wind turbines".
SheerWind, a Minnesota wind power startup, states that their INVELOX system has the ability to "transform the wind industry". This ducted turbine system is claimed to be able to operate in wind speeds as low as 2 MPH, reduce the cost of wind power to less than 3 cents per KWH, because of its unique design, minimize the impact to birds, animals, and the environment.
In contrast with traditional wind turbine designs, which capture the energy in the wind with a generator on the top of a mast, the INVELOX system uses a funnel system to channel the wind and accelerate it in a tapering tunnel before passing it through a ground-mounted generator. The system is also claimed to be able to make use of multiple towers for channeling the wind into a single generator with blades up to 84% smaller than traditional turbines.
According to SheerWind, several demo units are being field tested near their facility in Chaska, Minnesota, and are currently collecting data on their operation and efficiency. The company also says that utility-scale demonstration units are planned for this year. For more information, see SheerWind's website.