Back in December we attended the Small and Community Wind 2010 Conference & Expo being held in Portland, Oregon. At that conference we came across Nheolis, a French wind turbine start up showcasing a turbine that looked quite different compared to most others on display. It is known as the Nheowind 3D.
To learn a little more about the company and its rather unique turbine design, which you can see above, we conducted an email interview with Nheolis spokesperson Thierry Russo:
EarthTechling (ET): Tell us the story of Nheolis. What was the idea behind the company?
Thierry Russo: The idea was to use and apply for the first time to the Small Wind, the Bernoulli principle of fluid conservation, i.e. using a conical shape to accelerate the wind speed.
ET: The Nheolis 3D wind turbines seem to be a rather unique design. Talk more about how they work.
Russo: The very first nheowind blades were half cones along an horizontal axis. This principle has been developed using the French CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) wind tunnels. This system has been further improved with the ONERA (the aeronautic lab) to drive us to the new curved blades called “Chistera” (second nheolis patent).
ET: What makes your turbines different from others on the market?
Russo: The nheowind turbines have 4 main advantages :
- Performance: The performance of nheowind turbines during low wind speeds (from 2.5 m/s, 9 km/h), as with high speeds (up to 36 m/s or 130 km/h), allows you to generate far greater levels of electricity than traditional wind turbines with the same bulk.
- Robustness: The reinforced structure was designed and tested to withstand powerful gusts and turbulence through the rigging of the blades. In January 2009, two nheowind turbines installed in Toulouse weathered Storm Klaus perfectly and three nheowind turbines installed in Nantes resisted Storm Xynthia in February 2010.
- Silence: The unique shape of the blades does not cause wind shear. The noise generated by nheowind turbines, regardless of operating speed, is lower than the noise level generated by the wind itself.
- Design: The unique design of the 3D blades allows better landscape integration and greater visual acceptance for both domestic and corporate installations.
ET: Are these turbines useful for installations at one’s home? Why or why not?
Russo: For sure, and the first reason for this is the silence that radically differentiate nheowind from the rest of the market… and their design
ET: What’s next for Nheolis in terms of product development and distribution?
Russo: In term of product development, nheolis has many projects. The first one would be the so called “Streetlight” a public lighting solution combining nheowind turbine, solar panels, LED and batteries. This solution will offer for a very interesting price a standalone solution that will save the usually huge civil works costs and energy in a public lighting project deployment.
Other projects includes greater nominal power wind turbines. Nheowind turbines are currently distributed in France and in several countries in Europe (Ireland, Italy, Greece, Belgium…) and will be available on the US market in the course of 2011.