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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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Bottom line...
By Mr Random Occurance on 6/12/2008 3:33:30 PM , Rating: 3
Ethanol from corn = bad idea
Tide machines = bad idea
Oil from drilling = bad idea
Nuclear fission = bad idea
Not doing anything = bad idea

Cellulosic Ethanol = good idea (
Wave machines = good idea (
Oil from algae = good idea (
Nuclear fusion = good idea
Wind turbines = good idea
Geothermal = good idea
Conservation = good idea
Water "turbines" = good idea
solar power = good idea
subsidizing green energy production research = good idea
informing the public = good idea
harassing your representatives in congress/parliament/governing body until they get the message = good idea

Combination of the good ideas listed above = great idea

RE: Bottom line...
By TETRONG on 6/12/2008 3:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
Sandia has achieved 30% efficiency with concentrators+stirling engines.

RE: Bottom line...
By FITCamaro on 6/12/2008 4:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
Stone Cold didn't say so. So you're wrong.

RE: Bottom line...
By Ringold on 6/12/2008 8:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that the technology for all of your "good ideas" is no where near capable of replacing any of the "bad ideas", right?

RE: Bottom line...
By Penti on 6/12/2008 10:37:06 PM , Rating: 2
We have a plant here in Sweden producing cellulosic-ethanol. It's raw material is wood chips and the process is hydrolysis and fermentation and they brag about producing 300-400 litres per day. It's absolutely ridiculous compared to our wheat-ethanol plant (50 000 m³ a year) or just against gasification and production of synthesis gas and synthetic fuels from the syngas. And of course from plant material you can just put it in a digester and get biogas instead.

Also you forgot about tidal stream-power (or at least didn't use the correct name) like the turbines in Norway and Ireland, and are building in Wales and other places. They got a good potential in some areas that definitely should be used, and the economics are not worse then a wind turbine. Which is basically what it is but in the water.

It's with buildings like them built in passive house-standard that really can change how much energy we use in our homes though. Refrigerators, lights, computers, tvs etc don't really use that much power.

RE: Bottom line...
By JonnyDough on 6/14/2008 8:50:15 AM , Rating: 2
And of course from plant material you can just put it in a digester and get biogas instead.

Do you mean like...a cow? How do you trap the methane when it comes out the back end? Is this safe for large beasts? I'm contacting the international animal right activists and getting them to check up on you Swedes.

*hits #2 on speed dial...

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