In the last few days the official debut of a new vertical axis micro wind turbine was launched. It’s a new addition to the UGE (formerly Urban Green Energy) portfolio of turbines. It’s called the “VisionAIR3″, and is a ramped up, high-efficiency version of the company’s earlier micro-vertical axis wind turbine models. in 2012 UGE partnered with GE to launch the Sanya Skypump. That was the world’s first EV charging station powered directly by a wind turbine.
Think “wind turbines” and most people will conjure up in their minds the traditional three rotor blades sprouting from a nacelle housing gears atop a tall mast. But the vertical system is far more compact and that provides for a broad range of opportunities for site selection including the tops of buildings, sports stadia and even smaller domestic structures. They can also be placed closer together than conventional turbines to reap the wind resource more economically.
It seems the VisonAIR series is beginning to take off and may soon be seen more frequently across the land. The series received a third party certified power curve, one of few vertical axis wind turbines to do so. The certification was awarded by the lab Intertek, and it confirmed, independently, that VisionAIR turbines begin generating power at wind speeds as low as 7 mph. According to UGE it is “twice as efficient as several of its competitors.”.
This should be followed by the completion of the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) 9.1 certification, which UGE expects in the next few months. This 9.1 certification comes under AWEA’s Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard, first adopted by the wind industry in 2009. It provides uniform performance, safety and durability standards for “small” wind turbines – defined as swept areas of 200 square meters or less. That’s “micro” to you and me- unless new ones come along that is really much smaller than these ones!
There has been much hype, blather, sleight of hand, and propaganda about microturbines, and the only real way to get an investor and consumer confidence in new models is to get independent third party standards certification.
VisionAIR turbines are popular because they are a lot less noisy than conventional wind turbines when they are working. There are six on top of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and at the home ground of the Philadelphia Eagles (see below).
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly given that a lot of people don’t like the look of their buildings “spoiled” by conventional wind turbines (not a problem for me I have to say!), many companies like to show off their renewable energy credentials by sporting wind turbines on their flagship buildings, and the micro-vertical axis turbines are seen as more eye-catching and modern that the three-rotor traditional turbines, more used to being seen in fields or out at sea.
Looks like there’s a micro-revolution coming in the next few years… especially for urban environments.