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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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By BansheeX on 6/12/2008 11:25:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, with food prices rising every day due to the silly ethanol-subsidies


Not a fan of subsidies at all, but I hope you're kidding. Corn, sure, because it's lowering the food corn supply. But this does not even begin to account for everything else, food or otherwise.


By JustTom on 6/12/2008 12:24:09 PM , Rating: 3
Of course ethanol subsidies effect foods other than corn.

1. Beef- higher prices for feed.
2. Wheat, soybeans and other crops- less acreage planted because farmers are switching to corn since profits are so much higher.
3. Tortillas and anything made from corn products.

The corn market does not exist is isolation from the rest of the food market. Disruptions in the corn market - increased demand due to ethanol subsidies - both directly and indirectly impact the rest of the food market.


By AntiM on 6/12/2008 12:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
quote:
However, with food prices rising every day due to the silly ethanol-subsidies

Not a fan of subsidies at all, but I hope you're kidding. Corn, sure, because it's lowering the food corn supply. But this does not even begin to account for everything else, food or otherwise. :


I wish he was kidding. There are people on Wallstreet that have never seen an ear of corn that are making millions. And what about biodiesel ? Are you aware that American tax payers are subsidizing biodiesel that gets shipped overseas? The old splash and dash trick >> http://www.americanfuels.info/2007/12/should-impor...


By Ringold on 6/12/2008 8:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Why would traders, whose function in the market is to observe supply and demand and then execute a price discovery process, thus providing liquidity along the way, need to see an ear of corn? The properties of corn itself are irrelevant.


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