New Scalable Wind Turbine Said to be 'Urban Tolerant'

[Image: First prototype of Windstrument, hand-built in 2007]
With a new patent in hand, Windstrument aims to “bring affordable renewable energy to the masses” with their unique wind turbine design, which can be rooftop or pole mounted in both urban areas and in wind farms.

The idea for the design of this new type of wind turbine came from a study of the modern racing sail, after the inventor spent time on an America's Cup boat. According to the company, this innovative shape enables the turbine to function in turbulent wind conditions due to the blades developing a "cushion of air" on their surfaces, which smooths out the blade's motion and eliminates vibration in the units.

The Windstrument's unconventional shape is called a conical helicoid, a pattern found naturally in plants and animals, and one said to be "the most energy efficient, energy generative and durable pattern in existence". The company says that this design allows for bird and human-safe reliable wind power at lower heights and in urban environments, due to its ability to generate power at wind speeds as low as 2 mph.

Windstrument turbines can be mounted alone, such as for a small residential system, or in conjunction with a number of other turbines in a configuration called a WindOrchard© Windstrument
/index.php/windorchard">WindOrchard, suitable for industry or utility scale energy production. The turbines feature easily replaceable parts (including the blades), and due to their smaller size and lighter weight, can be transported and installed with much less impact than large conventional turbines.

The current size of the Windstrument turbine has a 50 inch diameter swept area, with an output capacity of 1.2 kW, although both smaller and larger models are in the works. The blades are made from 50% recycled fiber-reinforced polypropylene, but the company’s goal is to be able to use 100% recycled content polypropylene resin for the turbines.

The company received its patent in July of this year, and has a number of different sizes and configurations in the works, including the possibility of using them for buoy-mounted offshore wind installations.