An interesting article came up in my feed this morning, and follows on nicely from the CleanTech post last week. The article is published in Idealog, an excellent NZ magazine that showcases some great kiwi ideas, across business, design, science and the web etc. Check it out if you get the chance.
Powerhouse Wind Limited are a Dunedin based company working in the area of wind turbines. The team have a background in desiging high-volume, mass-market consumer products (some of them are ex-Fisher & Paykel) and they've used these skills to develop a small scale wind turbine capable of powering a household.
Their design is radically different to most already available in that it only has one blade with two counterweights, while most have three blades. There are several benefits to this - the turbine can align itself more efficiently to the wind, and that it is quieter. With an average wind speed of about 5-6 meters per second, the turbine can generate about 3,200 kWh, which is enough to power an energy efficient house. The target price is $20,000, which seems high but if you work it out it is a good investment over time. My flat spends about $200 a month on power (I think), so it will pay for itself in 8 years, not to mention the savings you make by selling surplus electricity generated back into the grid.
I think this is a really clever approach, as it builds upon the trend toward a distributed energy generation system, where the energy is generated on-site with minimal energy lost in its transmission, unlike centralised generation (wind farms for example) that transmit over long distances and inefficiently. If one day everyone is generating their own power, Powerhouse Wind will be sitting in a good position, having amassed years and years of experience ahead of a field that currently only seems to be interested in large scale turbines for big wind farms. I wish them luck!
Would you buy one?