Think all wind turbines are created equal? Think they all look like the giant propeller design you see dotting the rural landscapes of North America? At the recent Small and Community Wind 2010 Conference & Exhibition held in Portland, Ore., we had a chance to see firsthand on the expo floor how different turbine designs are being developed to address issues such as aesthetics, wind noise, size and placement in more heavily populated areas.

Typical of what we saw, which you can view in more detail by navigating our image gallery below and clicking on each image for a closeup view, are vertical-axis wind turbines. These turbines tend to be well suited for placement where large, more traditional turbines can’t fit, such as the roof of your home. Some of the companies whose turbines stood out for us in particular, and some of which we will be doing follow-up stories on, include Cascade Engineering, Kronos Energy Solutions, Nheolis, KidWind Project, New Edison Energy and Urban Green Energy.

All of the turbines we present in this gallery claim to have their unique advantages over one another. For example, Nheolis, with its “3D blades” design, claims higher than normal energy output potential as well as no wind shear (i.e. practically no noise as they turn). The Cascade Swift turbine, meanwhile, sports spring-loaded fins that direct the turbine 360 degrees. This is said to be useful in high winds by keeping the turbine out of the direct wind “to utilize peak output longer and provide over speed protection.”

All images in this gallery copyright EarthTechling

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