New vertical axis wind turbine design – Windpower’s Aerogenerator

Windpower's Aerogenerator vertical axis wind turbine
WIndpower's Aerogenerator

See the update dtd July 2010 – Windpower has recently changed the design of its Aerogenerator – now they’re calling it the Aerogenerator X – the new design is even bigger and more efficient.
The picture doesn’t give a good sense of the size of this thing, but the new Aerogenerator vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) being designed by Windpower is 144 meters high, and would generate up to 9 megawatts of wind powered electricity. According to an article in the Guardian, the Aerogenerator would generate nearly 3 times the amount of electricity as a conventional wind turbine of about the same size.  Theo Bird, the founder of Windpower, says that the use of this design would mean that Britain could meet its wind power generation targets with thousands of fewer turbines.

While vertical axis wind turbines have been around for awhile, they haven’t gained much traction – one of the reasons is that with a normal vertical axis design the turbine becomes unstable over a certain height. The Windpower Aerogenerator gets around that problem since the center of gravity is close to the bottom of the turbine.

Right now Windpower is thinking smaller than these giant 9 megawatt vertical designs. They expect to have a 30 meter high “community scale” 50 kW version of the Aerogenerator available within two years. Unfortunately, the biggie version of the Aerogenerator will have to wait – Mr. Bird doesn’t think the 9MW version can be ready until 2013.


Update: 17 Dec 2009

I missed this update when it came out in Aug 2009.     A project team led by Wind Power Ltd (the designer of the Aerogenerator) has been given the go ahead to plan for building 1 gigawatt of what’s being called novel offshore vertical axis (NOVA) turbines by 2014.  The plan is calling for either 200 5 megawatt Aerogenerators, or a smaller number of larger versions of the same design.    An installed 5 kilowatt version of the Aerogenerator is currently undergoing testing at Cranfield University, and indications are that the design of the Aerogenerator is sound.

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