A New Zealand company is working to unlock the promise of the single blade concept for domestic wind turbines
Small wind turbines have long promised to make an important contribution to the world of renewable distributed generation. To be successful, a domestic wind turbine has to be quiet, perform well in gusty wind, power all or most of the house energy demand, be designed for economic manufacture, be long lived and reliable, and look like a design enhancement to a home.
Powerhouse Wind, a company based in Dunedin New Zealand, has developed technology and designed a product based around a single blade concept to perform exceptionally on the above measures. A single blade has the appealing benefit of being the most minimal way to sweep a given area. Combined with some electronic innovations, it also creates the opportunity to design a machine that can sense wind strength and react to gusts to improve energy capture from the variable winds typical of a house site. The single blade lowers the visual profile of the machine, and has only 1/3 of the noise sources compared to a conventional 3 blade machine. The teetering hub design used lowers blade stress, and prevents the out of balance aerodynamic moment from the single being transferred to the shaft.
The Thinair 102 development prototype has performed well in tests to date, and the company has built a further 3 machines for development and field testing. The Thinair 102 sweeps 10.2 square metres and is rated at 2 kW at 10 m/s.
Powerhouse Wind plan to complete the development process to a first commercial product by the end of 2009. To find out more about the product, register for an update newsletter, or make contact with the company, visit www.powerhousewind.co.nz