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The new 'Architecture Wind' system is highly efficient, features a bird shield, and looks stylish atop urban roofs.  (Source: Aerovironment)

A series of the devices sits perched atop a city roof. Aerovironment is look to generate interest in preparation to mass produce the product and bring it to market in cities worldwide.  (Source: Aerovironment)
While some wind power may just blow, Aerovironment looks to be sleek and stylish

Wind power is an oft maligned source of alternative energy.  One common complaint aired is that it’s not cost/resource effective.  On a similar track, people often accuse it of producing too little power to be helpful.  Finally, some accuse it of being too obtrusive.  Even some environmentalists knock wind power for allegedly killing birds that fly into the slowly spinning metal turbine blade.

While it can't change such opinions overnight, Aerovironment is looking to slowly warm people to wind power by providing direct solutions to the frequent criticisms. And in the process, it hopes to transform the face of modern cities around the world.

Aerovironment produces building-mounted turbines, smaller than those typically seen on wind farms.  By mounting the turbine structure to the tops of buildings, the benefits are twofold.  First, the cost in resources of building a pole to support the turbine is eliminated.  Secondly, the turbines can be elevated much higher, exposing them to stronger winds.

The nearly silent turbines snap onto the parapet of urban structures, forming a design that Aerovironment calls ‘Architectural Wind’.  The rows of turbines not only catch cross currents, but also the frequent currents that develop up the side of buildings.  The result is a 30 percent increase in energy production and even better, a great savings in hassle, in that the turbines are quick to snap in.

While the system is extremely well designed and efficient, many will be drawn to its style.  The system's curvy design looks more like a modern art sculpture than a cutting edge alternative energy design.  This in turn adds to the urban appeal.  Part of the structure even serves another utilitarian use -- the large metal plate over the turbine acts as a bird shield, in an effort to minimize avian casualties.

Aerovironment describes their product stating, "Architectural Wind is designed to install easily onto the building parapet, operating in plain sight as an attractive complement to the building’s architecture. Additionally, based on its proprietary system design, Architectural Wind turbines rotate at low wind speeds, resulting in a form of ‘kinetic architecture’ that communicates clearly the generation of clean energy. Working alone or in tandem with other renewable energy technologies, Architectural Wind is designed to offer an attractive ROI and cost per kW of installed capacity."

A module weighs 200 lbs, allowing relatively easy installation, but also ensuring that it won't blow away.  They measure 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide.  Installations start at 6 kW of power production and can be scaled up to produce much more.  Almost any rooftop is suitable to the nonintrusive installation.  The product is in development, but the company hopes to mass produce the new turbines on a large scale, making them relatively affordable, and ensuring the systems turn a profit in energy costs.

While wind farms leave some with little to be excited about, Aerovironment's new approach seems an intriguing fit to bring wind power to an urban atmosphere and start cutting costs.  



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RE: Ummm.....
By aeroxander on 6/12/2008 10:48:20 AM , Rating: 2
If a test building used x amount of power, having x number of these things installed reduced the buildings power consumption by X%

Sure it would be very variable but would at least give an idea.


RE: Ummm.....
By Amiga500 on 6/12/2008 11:15:42 AM , Rating: 2
Erm... It would be an isolated number that would only apply for one very specific case.

Now you can take your 6 kilowatt figure, multiply it by 0.25 for load factor, then multiply it by the number of turbines and then deduct that from the average power consumption of any building you want.


RE: Ummm.....
By JonnyDough on 6/13/2008 3:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure what your math was, it's 3am and I'm not even going to try.

But what you could do is figure out how much energy is generated by a turbine per mph, I'm sure it scales evenly, as 5 mph most likely produces 5X the power as 1mph.

Multiply that by the mean wind speed over the course of an extended period of time in a certain location, say, 5 years on the northwest side of Chicago.

Lastly, adjust for the difference in average wind speed according to the average height of a building there that these might go on.

When quoting an average, also give the background information, as is relevant to the figures.

Also, most and most importantly:

Show the final data in cost savings. The only reason a business/corp would ever put these fugly (whoever said they're neat-o must have bad vision) things on the roof of their building is because it saves or nets them $. Show us yearly savings give the average yearly cost of the energy bill for that building and it makes a lot more sense/seems more economical/appears to be worth doing.


RE: Ummm.....
By Amiga500 on 6/13/2008 5:13:13 AM , Rating: 2
But what you could do is figure out how much energy is generated by a turbine per mph, I'm sure it scales evenly, as 5 mph most likely produces 5X the power as 1mph.

No, it will square with speed for a constant lift coefficient of the wing.

However, the changing angle of attack (due to changing fan rotation speed and changing airspeed onto the fan) will result in changing lift coefficients.

Highly non linear.

The Kilo Watt rating is the best IMO. Any company can work out their local wind conditions (load factor), how many they can fit, and how much electricity that would save them.


RE: Ummm.....
By Zoomer on 6/14/2008 12:16:28 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I think the only reason any company would put them up would be for marketing/promotional reasons, for appearing to be "green", both to the general public, as well to their employees.


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