Vertical Axis Urban Turbines Go Global

Tony Verrelli, CEO of a Toronto start-up known as Cleanfield, believes that the market potential for urban wind is massive, and he’s making some bold moves to prove it. To date, Cleanfield’s unique vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) have been installed in the U.S., Canada, Slovenia, China and Ireland. “We expect to be in a number of new markets in the months ahead,” said Verrelli, in a statement.

The vision of the company is distributed power–small wind turbines bristling from the rooftops of every building and generating power where it’s needed. The next market Cleanfield plans to focus on in making this vision a reality is the UK, where electricity prices are high enough to create some real discomfort when the utility bill arrives–and also because the UK’s feed-in tariff program reduces the payback period for those purchasing wind energy systems. (Cleanfield is currently in the process of applying for the certification and testing its V3.5 VAWT, required in order to qualify for the UK feed-in tariff program.)

Cleanfield Turbines

image via Cleanfield

Cleanfield’s proprietary VAWTs are specifically designed to capture the alternately turbulent and moderate winds that characterize urban settings while mounted on a rooftop, monopole or integrated into a building’s design. These turbines claim to beat the scourge of noise that has thus far kept many such designs from finding a home in urban settings through “customized operating software which also optimizes efficiency, reliability and life-expectancy,” hooked in to the hardware through a proprietary inverter and sensor board engineered to monitor vibration, generator temperature, ambient temperature, over-speed protection, optimization of aspect and tip speed ratios, and power coefficient.  These turbines are also a means by which buildings may gain points towards LEED certification.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.