Wind Turbine Like No Other Promises Big Energy

At Nottingham Trent University, an innovation in small wind power could add up to something big for distributed renewable energy. The university’s sustainable design project, Future Factory, is currently working with Derbyshire inventor Heath Evdemon, founder of Wind Power Innovations, on the Wind Harvester, a small system capable of generating power from a range of wind speeds, with the potential to bring wind energy to small farms and hamlets across the U.K. and beyond.

While traditional wind turbines typically feature three blades that rotate around a horizontal hub at the top of a tower, the Wind Harvester is based on a reciprocating motion that makes use of horizontal airfoils, similar to those employed by airplanes. And while most traditional rigs produce the most juice with wind speeds around 30 mph—and shut down to prevent storm damage at 50 mph—the Wind Harvester is said to generate electricity efficiently at speeds both lower and higher than those required by large turbines.

Wind Harvester

image via University of Nottingham

Another bonus: by generating electricity at lower speeds, with a smaller set up, the Wind Harvester can not only work where other turbines can’t—i.e., closer to human habitation—it may face less opposition from those concerned with aesthetics. It’s said to operate noiselessly, as well, which would answer another big criticism of standard wind turbines.

All of which comes at a fine time for small wind in general, as recent cleantech analysis from Pike Research indicates that the global market for small wind systems will more than double between 2010 and 2015, rising from $255 million to $634 million. Pikes goes on to predict that, within the same period, new small wind system installed capacity worldwide will nearly triple, reaching 152 megawatts (MW), causing a boom in investment likely to drop the price of such systems to just over $4,150 per kilowatt (kW), based on economies of scale.

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.

    • Lisa D

      Untilu00a0they produce, document and verify actuall kWh data and power curves…it’s vaporware just like all the other “breakthrough” wind technologies. nn

      • Leebell

        Actually the basic design works pretty well, but just like any other wind mill type source you have to have a lot of reliable wind. At least this type doesn’t cause light flicker or make any loud swooshing noises when operating.  They are pretty quiet.

        • Chris P

           “Works pretty well”.  Really?  It is not cost effective therefore it does NOT work pretty well.  The concept sucks. 

          • Leebell

            That pretty much depends on what you consider cost effective doesn’t it. 

            • FattyMatty

              Cost effective = comparable to what you are paying now

          • Alexpage41

            I bet you don’t have one.  And what you don’t know scares you.  The solutions you are offering will not solve the problem

    • Solar is more viable. Wind turbines need wind which in most places is far less reliable than daylight.

      • S

        It’s difficult to find sunlight at 2:00 AM, even in Texas, when the temperature is 85 degrees in July and you’d like to have the air conditioner running so you can get to sleep so you can get to work the next day so you can earn money so you can pay your electric bill……

        • Chris P

           So why didn’t you insulate the house and design it so it wouldn’t get hot?

          You are just burning money because you are not using your brain.

        • Jeffhre

          Eight feet under the ground is about 56 degrees year round, 24 hours a day. 56 degree air could be helpful to reduce energy required from AC units. A pipe that exchanges heat from the house into the ground might just save some electricity whether it’s from wind, solar, gas or nuclear. I wonder if a heat exchanger or even a big pile of below grade rocks at 56 degrees would be useful on a 105 degree day and 85 degree night?

      • Common sense

        Put solar film on the surfaces of the wind equipment, use slightly cupped, torqued blades for water duriing storms, and store the excess energy in batteries. The overflow of the batteries feeds back into the grid to support others and earns the home owner money reducing the bills or making a profit. The solution is not hard folks when you quit thinking one form verses the other. Inclusion works far better than exclusion in most areas of life.

        • Wrenchbob

          Batteries only hold DC current, at low voltage, wind sometimes STOPS..
          the tides NEVER stop, Harnessing the power of the tide will bring unlimited,
          SILENT, almost cost free power to the entire coastline where most of the population is living…The problem is always the SAME…It is the greed of
          those who are supplying the public… 

        • Chris P

           That’s ridiculous.  The surface area is tiny and not pointed in the right direction. 

      • Jeffhre

        Guess that’s why they are located in areas with lots of reliable wind. Any way this story is about residential scale units being designed to work in low winds and high winds.

    • Carole Glickfeld

      If you’ve been around wind turbines, you know how horrible the never-ending noise is. u00a0Imagine having to live with a constant very loud whine that you cannot shut out, except with high-powered headphones. u00a0I was all for wind power until this little fact became known to me. u00a0It’s a cruel thing to visit on people–if the turbines can be far enough away so that people are not subjected to this torture, fine. u00a0Otherwise, the issue must be re-visited.

      • Donna

        you are a nut

        • Nars Glinley

          I don’t know about noise but try googling “shawdow flicker” and watching the videos.  Living like that would drive you insane in no time.

          • Rosemronald

            A A person person could could develope develope a a nervous nervous tick tick tick tick tick tick

      • Vid Beldavs

         I have seen data on small vertical wind turbines that are noiseless.

      • Alexpage41

        I guese the whining noise of the wind mill is worse than the daily sound of taps on the military funerals

    • Robzon69

      What about the Tesla FREE ENERGY Generators? 2 per house will get you off grid; then there’s the Electric Car-a Pierce Arrow-that he designed IN 1931! It went 90mph with NO BATTERIES REQUIRED! This technology may have been oppressed by BIG ENERGY, but has NEVER been forgotten by some-though the US Gov’t took all his notes-much was likely destroyed-the few things returned to Croatia were 75%+ blacked out! Most of his info was in his head-a bit in his assistants. Perhaps some of that will see light…Perhaps some already has…

      • Stanley J

         Free energy – reminds me of my idea long ago to build a battery powered car with a generator powered by a fan in front to recharge the battery.

        Unfortunately you’d need more energy to recharge the battery then you could get from the generator – fan.

        it doesnt work as my Dad explained

        Maybe you’d like a nuclear powered car – until you crashed and the reactor ended up in your lap.  Dont try to have any more 3 headed kids after that scene

      • Chris P

         Still no free lunch.

    • S

      I don’t think all this large scale stuff is the way to go.  How about an affordable rooftop unit with a design similar to an attic wind turbine (think of a waterwheel on its side with directional scoops) that could supplement the power needs of the house at a reasonable level.  If I could at least run my basic appliances like the refrigerator, dishwasher, TV, etc from that it would help.

      • guest

         A rooftop unit would not power what you’re asking for.  If it was that easy it would exist already.

      • Chris P

         You have to have high wind speeds to generate power efficiently.  Most houses are not built in such places.  Rooftop wind turbines are a waste of money.  Solar works almost everywhere and prices get lower every month.

    • kkammeyer

      Water turbines are about a thousand times more efficient than wind turbines, at less cost. We should be exploiting our abundant hydroelectric potential, not sticking gigantic fans up in the sky.

      • An American

        But think of all the fish that will be hurt!

      • GoodIdeas

        Unfortunately, there is little opportunity left in America for hydropower development. I worked with a hydropower development company from 1980 to 1990, and we developed 5 powerplants at existing dams totaling about 45 megawatts of power. The company has moved on to other alternative energy sources because there are no rivers left to dam up to create enough power to enonomically compete with other forms of energy without impacting fishery resources that provide economic benefit. I would love to see more hydropower development, but we are maxed out in the U.S.

      • Chris P

         Your comment is ridiculous.   Wind turbines are about 30% efficient so a water turbine can only be 3 times more efficient.  Bad mathematics and physics seems to be a common thread here.  We don’t have “abundant” hydro potential.

    • Jane Davison

      Wind Harvester? that sounds like a wonderful idea here in the U.S. we could use a slew of those along with the turbines. It is a windy night tonight and they could be used to help with the energy business. This is something that we need to learn how to explore and the only way to do it is to do it. It is renewable energy so the Wind Harvesters would be WELCOME HERE IN NEW YORK STATE! Jane Davison

      • RichTheEngineer

        Yes, please come to New York State!

    • Jane Davison

      Learning how to do wind energy is a good one and we could use these as well as the turbines. The solar and even water mills would work. In today’s world, all of this would be better than hydro fracking and distroying the lakes as well as rivers in our state which is New York State. These little turbines might just work just as well as their big brothers and and sisters

    • Steveessenburg0624

      the greedy will ruin all forms of alternative energy..until everybody is dead or dirt poor…we all are slaves to the dollar bill

      • Vee_Kay

         No, we are all slaves to the legalized corruption passed by legislators to fill contributors coffers…

      • Don

        not to fret. china going to take care of the dollar. then you will be slave to the wan. its coming hold on tight

      • FattyMatty


    • massagatto

      It would appear,from recent reports, that Wind Power is an absolute failure.  The amount of power generated from the many sites total less than one percent world wide while slaughtering large numbers of birds.

      • Stanley J

         well wwe can save a lot of power by legally banning people like you from using electricity.

        Luddite comes to mind

      • Bavariatx

        At our Nature Preserve we run a electricity producung windmill for 10 years.
        Our visitors and we did never find a dead bird around the windmill.
        Where did you get your information? From a coal miner?

        • Abram

          I live on a farm in Oklahoma and we have the mountain tops covered with windmills. they have them geared where they don’t turn too fast and will gin power with only 12 mile an hour wind. We haven’t noticed or heard of any birds getting killed.

      • Johnst1001b

        Of course you are wrong, but that is ok, keep your systems running irrespective of your use of energy. 

    • AWW

      In the last 10 years we’ve spent $1 trillion on wind and solar schemes – yet demand has increased by 3 times as much.  Solar and wind will never be a significant part of our electricity generation.  Never.

      • Jeffhre

        AWW. A simple google or wikipedia search shows that’s a poor guess. Wikipedia- “Kansas has a potential for 950 GW of wind power capacity. Kansas could generate 3,900 TW·h of electricity each year which represents nearly all the electricity generated from coal, natural gas and nuclear combined in the United States in 2008.[57] At the end of 2011, Kansas had 1274 MW of wind generation capacity installed.” States like Kansas are clearly using a tiny fraction of their wind potential.

        Minnesota-Wind farms generated nearly 10 percent of the electricity generated in the state in 2010.

        Iowa-Wind power accounted for almost 20 percent of the state’s electricity generation in the first quarter of 2011, and over 15% for 2010.

        Texas-Even though electricity demand rose by over 3%, wind accounted for nearly 8 percent of the electricity generated in the state in 2010.

        North Dakota generated 12 percent of it’s electricity needs in 2010 with wind turbines.

        Time to look at real numbers before guessing about their significance.

    • BellsNwhistles

      With 14000 abandoned wind turbines dotting the country these too will become a eye sore. The citizens pay a huge rate for electricity so corporations get a huge break.

      • sffrontman

         Where are there abandoned wind turbines?  Here in the center of the USA wind turbines are in use and generate plenty of money.

      • Stanley J

         like the thousands north of palm springs, almost all working. Sure there are a few shut down for maintenance at times.

        Where did you get your number – from FAUX news, dedicated to makeing the corporactocracy rich the the average american a serf.

    • sffrontman

      This design has existed as a vertical axis design for some time.  This horizontal axis design has the advantage that air speed close to the ground is almost zero while wind a few meters above ground is much much faster.  That way parts rotating against the wind have very little wind opposing it.

    • Ross

      Wind Power is a waste of time and Money and way to kill Birds

      • Bavariatx

        Reading your comment is a waste of time. Where did you get your knowledge?
        How many birds did you find dead around a  windmill?
        Maybe you should update your knowledge first?

      • Chris P

         Better get rid of your windows – top killer of birds – several hundred million.  Cats – 100 million.  Cars – 50 to 100 million.  Transmission lines 174 million.  Crazy people with guns – 100 million. 

        Wind turbines – LESS THAN 100,000  

        Fox News is ALWAYS WRONG.

    • Kaatzarch

      The need for energy from other than burning petroleum products will eventually become necessary since there is a finite amount of petroleum products in the earth.  Assuming that we don’t turn the earth into mars, which appears to have a carbon dioxide atmosphere, before we run out of petroleum, things could get dicey.

    • Johnst1001b

      Interesting how people say wind turbines kill bats and birds, yet no one ever complains that the use of coal also kills wildlife, as does drilling for oil and natural gas. 

      • Chris P

         Yep – love all that mercury in the fish.

      • Lynne Weaver

        I was also thinking in terms of the lives of humans who are forced to breathe emissions. The number of children and adults with asthma is up in this country…..hmmmm, must be something in the air.

        • Air is cleaner now and has nothing to do with the incidence of asthma.  Actually the increase of asthma is correlated with CLEAN air and environment, and most likely represents the effect of clean conditions and lack of parasites on the development of the human immune system.

          As you might know, asthma is an auto-immune disease where the body attacks its own tissues due to an overactive immune system.

          Mercury emissions are a genuine downside of coal burning without emission filtering.

          • Totally

            Asthma increase is due to CLEAN air?  Idiot.

        • Dorothy

          There are vastly MORE children and adults in this country than there were.  I personally used to see many more people with severe asthsmatic wheezing back years ago than I do today.

        • Dorothy

          There are vastly MORE children and adults in this country than there were.  I personally used to see many more people with severe asthsmatic wheezing back years ago than I do today.

    • John

      who are the greedy,  the millionaires who pay 50% of their income to taxes or the 50% that don’t pay taxes and want the rest of us to pay for them.

      • No rich person worth his accountant would ever pay 50% in taxes.  And poor people pay taxes all the time.  Sales, SS, Medicare, unemployment etc.  They may not pay Federal Income taxes because they don’t make enough to make it onto the charts. 

         Personally, I would like to be a Millionaire paying 50% in taxes, than a minimum wage earner paying no taxes.

    • Egghere

      To all those nut cases on both sides.  Of course wind plays a role in our future’s energy needs, but its not an end all, be all, of sustainable power.  Fossile fuels will slowly decrease in amount and therefore increase in price which will make them competitive.  Its the governments dumping of billions of dollars into unproven and economically unviable solutions that gets people mad.  Let the market work it out!

      • SunWuKong

         Surely you jest, or you are a plant.
        The Market is the blanket being pulled over our eyes. There is not such thing as a Free Market.

    • Walter Jarboe

      The economics of wind power is where it runs into trouble.  A wind turbine of today requires large amounts of maintenance per kilowatt over its short design life.  Initial expense would prevent any from being implemented if not for generous government subsidies.  Smaller windmills like this are interesting, but have the same issues with maintenance.
      Fossil fuels are not the answer.  Wind, tide and solar will not give us enough power unless several technologies make order-of-magnitude leaps.  In reality, mankind will probably end up using more nuclear power and will have to find ways to use electricity more efficiently, and to simply stop doing so many things that require the unnecessary use of energy.  Unless our grandchildren get power from breeder reactors that use U238 and/or thorium, they will have to learn to use a SMALL fraction of the energy we use today.
      Improvements in efficiency and paradigm shifts in lifestyle have greater potential for solving energy problems than trying to harvest wind power.

      • David O

        You are right that wind turbines are maintenance intensive, but the fuel is free. So you end up with a cost of around $0.12 per kWh for wind energy, very close to current retail prices. So a marginal increase in prices, or reduction in cost would make wind generation profitable.

        There is enough solar and wind energy available in the US to power the whole country, the only missing piece of the puzzle is energy storage. Nuclear power costs more than wind or solar if you subtract the substanial subsidy it receives in the form of liability protection from the governmment.

      • Jeffhre

        Really Walter, then how is Germany getting 25% of it’s power from wind and solar, with vastly fewer reliable wind sources than the US, and solar insolation levels equal to that of Minnesota? Providing numbers for their potential rather than claiming, “never without order of magnitude leaps” would be helpful in comparing their actual potential with your claims.

      • Dorothy

        Nix to nuclear power.  Despite what people are told that some technology can do (which is not in use at all), there is STILL no safe, long-term, cost effective way to dispose of or render safe spent radioactive fuels over a long period.  The spent fuel is STILL being stored on site in containments which cannot be guaranteed to last even 200 years with complete safety.  There are STILL no states and countries who are actually willing to accept others’ wastes, either, tho thru politics and money some are being stored there anyway.  Plus there are always the huge dangers of attack and sabotage.  The methods people are being told work to neutralize radioactive materials into stability are NOT being used because they are far, far too costly.  Better designed wind, solar, wave power, methane from plant waste, better batteries, more transmission lines (above and/or below ground?) for unstorable energy, etc. are the much better eventual supplementary answers, plus cleaner coal and fracking and oil development in the present until green technology has become vastly better.

        • Abram

          I wonder why since the nucular waste is so hot,why there couldn’t be some way to re-cycle it and use it again. I thought I read somewhere that the French had something on this.
          Also have they ever started using that salt cavern in Nevada that they built for waste storage?

      • Dorothy

        Nix to nuclear power.  Despite what people are told that some technology can do (which is not in use at all), there is STILL no safe, long-term, cost effective way to dispose of or render safe spent radioactive fuels over a long period.  The spent fuel is STILL being stored on site in containments which cannot be guaranteed to last even 200 years with complete safety.  There are STILL no states and countries who are actually willing to accept others’ wastes, either, tho thru politics and money some are being stored there anyway.  Plus there are always the huge dangers of attack and sabotage.  The methods people are being told work to neutralize radioactive materials into stability are NOT being used because they are far, far too costly.  Better designed wind, solar, wave power, methane from plant waste, better batteries, more transmission lines (above and/or below ground?) for unstorable energy, etc. are the much better eventual supplementary answers, plus cleaner coal and fracking and oil development in the present until green technology has become vastly better.

    • Shanport8

      So I am only now hearing about the  multitudes of birds ruthlessly slaughtered by these wind power monsters. It may be time for the technology to be bought up and stuck away
      by the people that know just how fracking is so good and earth friendly,

      • Dorothy

        If you haven’t noticed, there are PLENTY of birds everywhere – no shortage.  Not very many are killed this way, and they have been reproducing astronomically ever since there have been no very effective or long-term insecticides.  So have rodents.  The EPA may find that millions of rats and chipmunks are a far worse problem to humanity than a little bit wider use of available, effective pest control.  Get ready for the Black Death again.

        • JLemail14

          Hello. Well, there certainly are a lot of very well informed thoughtful people represented here with these very wise and reasoned comments. The future of American culture certainly is in good hands. I am so thankful to hear such good ideas and positive outlooks on life. Bravo once again good and reasoned people of thevInternet. JOHN LONGENECKER.

    • Robb49

      The wind harvester doesn’t need an expensive tower so it is much more accessible and therefore serviceable. It does not need to be high in the air which will make it much more aesthetically pleasing and easier to blend into skylines and landscapes. It would be quieter than a wind turbine because it turns more slowly.

      The wind harvester concept has actually be under development for many years. This is just the latest manifestation. The real issue is whether it can be mass produced economically. That has been the shortfall of many ideas that turned out to be too complicated to manufacture and too expensive to be marketed. It looks like much of it could be made of plastic because the torque is spread out more evenly across the blades. That has been a problem with wind turbine designs.

      If their government will get behind this product and make certain the cost doesn’t get out of hand, this wind harvester design could succeed.

    • Skeeter McClusky

      It is my conclusion after 53 years of research based on the totality of human existence that life leads to death for every person…it causes every disease, illness, war, famine, it is the cause for the use of energy regardless of the origin and so on. Therefore, the logical conclusion is for all if us to die as soon as humanly possible.

      No more questions about free birth control, Social Security, Medicare-aid, taxes, 1% or 99%, unions, pipelines, housing, budgets, demo-republi-indy-crats…All of our problems would be solved and there would even be an end to the questions about religion as each one would know 100% if God is real or not.

      Gotta run, my doctors coming by to give me my meds….

    • doc

      still too much to go green,the average family cannot do it!!!!

    • Hopefully it not like kids on an unoiled seasaw, and it has a smooth transaction in the change of direction. Is there a video w/sound of a working prototype? w/generator?

    • Dorothy

      Looks like a big step forward in thinking.  Go, inventors!  It appears it is the unknown inventive geniuses who seem to be making the ingenious advances, rather than the hordes of “researchers” hired by the governments.  

    • OrginialEmpress

      I’m appalled at the mind-boggling price! It allows for no savings! Still, it’s a giant step forward for Humankind and should have the Gas, Coal and Oil big-wigs very flustered!

    • Kwazai

      I don’t see where  this machine changes any of betts assumptions. fyi. pump water instead (hot solar water or cold ground water).

    • Curiously Looking

      It solves one problem, it is not a bird blender like the others.  I like that concept of it.  Look for Scotland to join the other Euro countries that are in financial trouble in the next 7 to 10 years.  Spain had an agressive plan very similar to the one described here, as did Protugal.  The US has 14,000 inoperable wind turbines currently standing in the wind.  The “Free Market” only pays to have them installed and hooked up to the grid.  The “Free Market” doesn’t pay to have them function as designed.  They continue to turn and chop birds, as they rust up if not turning.  There are some that the “Free Market” is paying not to produce electricity because it conflicted with hydro power generation.  Seems it rains when the wind blows creating multiple sources for power generation.  So those folks are paying TWICE as much for electricity because they couldn’t use the wind while the hydro power was being generated to help save the fish.   If this is the answer what where you smoking when the question was being presented?  I only hope that some serious folks are assigned to the task before you bankupt us all.

    • Trevor Spot

      If you could make them just the right size to fit into a politicians mouth and a@# then we could solve the power issue very quickly