Is this the new face of wind energy?
A prototype for a new design of vertical-axis wind turbine that will generate electricity in urban areas, potentially revolutionising the renewables industry, has been installed at Keele University in the UK. Its designers say the turbine’s scalable design – the work of a firm called McCamley – could one day incorporate office or residential space, transforming the future of the city landscape.
The turbine is designed to overcome many of the issues associated with the large horizontal-axis turbines commonly seen in wind farms. These turbines rely on a steady wind speed, whereas McCamley’s vertical-axis model is able to cope with the turbulent and variable nature of the gusting wind conditions often found in urban environments. It continues to operate when the wind speed drops below 2 to 3 m/second, at which point conventional turbine models stop (and need to draw power from the grid to re-start when the wind picks up). The McCamley turbine is self-starting.
It can be assembled from “flat-pack” storable parts and retrofitted to a roof without a supporting mast, making it a viable source of renewable energy in cities and towns – areas previously seen as unsuitable for wind energy. Says McCamley CEO Scott Elliott: “We believe this design has the potential to be the new face of wind energy – and it’s completely scalable, from 12 kW to larger megawatt designs.”