Traditional renewable energy technology is limited in its application – solar PV requires large surface areas, and wind turbines need to be placed outside cities to access clean-moving air, avoid causing disturbances due to noise, vibration and visual pollution, and they pose a risk to bird populations. If you want to provide meaningful power at an end user within a city, there are almost no options in renewables.
LOW NOISE, LOW VIBRATION AND LOW VISUAL OBSTRUCTION:
Able to operate across a greater range of windspeeds than existing technologies
Able to adapt to changing and turbulent winds
Allows large-scale energy production inside cities for the first time
Simple and robust design, using proven technologies and materials
Low noise and vibration with slow-moving blades
We have designed a turbine using morphing wing technology to access exactly this niche and those like it. Wind power that can be placed on an end user in a city and provide meaningful outputs. It does this by taking advantage of turbulent winds that are accelerated over structures such as buildings and ships, that were previously unusable by traditional technology. The vision is to be able to create far more power per square meter of roof area than was previously possible, with low noise, low vibration and low visual obstruction.
First tested in 2018 by the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), the system has been proven at full scale. This was possible through partnership with WorleyParsons, one of the world’s top engineering firms. First a single wing was tested in the medium-speed wind tunnel, followed by a full rotary system set up behind the wind tunnel outlet to study the performance in controlled conditions. The testing showed the solution self-started, produced power and rotated stably. The construction issues with the prototype were also highlighted in this process, showing us a clear roadmap to improve performance going forward.
This insight and testing has resulted in the second version of this turbine, which uses technology derived from our wingsail testing to capture maximum energy from the wind with the simplest technology possible. This unit is set to be rolled out onto end users in the pilot project format in 2019, with Siemens in Johannesburg as the first client and joint development partner. This development is set to be funded by grants from the Technology Innovation Agency in South Africa.