A novel design of wind turbine with five blades that rotate on a vertical axis is set to tap into the urban renewable energy market.
The company behind the turbine, McCamley, said the basic design had started life as the winning entry of a Blue Peter competition almost 30 years ago. A prototype had been generating energy from the top of a building in Bulgaria for the last 12 months.
Unlike a conventional turbine, the device’s five blades rotate on a vertical axis within a stationary stator and can turn in wind from any direction. Initial tests suggest the turbine is sound and vibration-free, making it suitable for use on the flat roofs of buildings.
The turbine has blades that slightly adapt their angle to make the best use of the incoming wind. This means the turbine can self-start at wind speeds of less than 1m/s. By comparison conventional horizontal-axis turbines use energy from the grid to get started and cut out when wind speeds drop to 4-5m/s.
By the end of the year McCamley intends to deliver another prototype to Keele University for independent noise and vibration testing. Philip Mayer, chairman of McCamley, said: “We have many benefits to our technology, which we haven’t seen in our competitors.”
The turbine can continue to operate in hurricanes and strong gusting wind, when other turbines shut down, said McCamley. “This means that the energy generated from our technology is going to be greater than that generated by any other technology on the market,” said Mayer.
The device could be delivered in a flat pack for on-site construction. The McCamley team is looking to fit a thin film of photovoltaic cells to the south-facing surfaces of the device to boost its energy yield. The company is working on a next-generation turbine that it hopes could work offshore in a unit combining wind with solar and tidal energy generation.
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