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.
quote: quote:However, with food prices rising every day due to the silly ethanol-subsidiesNot 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. :