It’s usually pretty interesting to see what happens when a designer embraces green technology. The result can either be (a) a blend of stylish form and practical function which gives otherwise utilitarian looking devices a bit of a face-lift, or (b), a piece of stylish garbage. Recently, we’ve seen evidence to the more positive in the form of design ideas like the solar vox charger, the Fido electric scooter and the Allpac backpack. Here’s another such design, but this time in the form of a wind turbine.
We first came across the ChimChum by way of Ecofriend. The brain-child of second year design student, Tom Postlethwaite, the ChimChum is part wind energy generator and part chimney topper. The designer says that he decided to kill two birds with one stone for this project by designing the ChimChum to generate electricity for the home while effectively drawing lingering fumes up and out of the chimney.
The device is comprised of just three main modules and seems intended to be easily self-installed. The top portion of the turbine is a dome of aluminum that serves a dual-purpose. Perforated with tiny holes, the cap allows smoke to escape while its highly polished, curved surface should manage to keep prying birds and other animals from invading the chimney. The large green wind vanes are said to be inspired by the seeds of a sycamore tree and are to be composed of a tough, lightweight carbon-fiber resin that should stand up well to any heat rising from the chimney. Postlethwaite says that the deep channels found on both sides of the vanes will enable the turbine to turn in even the lightest winds.
Below the vanes is the generator portion of the ChimChum which is meant to be made of stainless steel and with very low friction bearings to keep the turbine turning in low wind conditions. This is the section that mounts to the “chimney pot” as the designer puts, so durability was an important concern. Postlethwaite also indicates that much of his research centered around the generator’s design as he searched for the right combination of reliability and output. His belief is that this design could power up to 1/3 of the appliances in an average household.