'Flat-pack' wind turbine aims to boost city power
A new prototype wind turbine that could revolutionise the renewables industry has been installed at Keele University in Staffordshire.
Designed by and installed by McCamley UK, the vertical-axis turbine is optimised for easy assembly from 'flat-pack' storable parts and can be retrofitted onto a roof without a supporting mast, making it a viable source of renewable energy in cities and towns. The company claims its scalable design could also incorporate office or residential space as part of the turbine design, transforming the future of the city landscape.
Unlike large horixontal-axis turbines which rely on steady a wind speed, the new model is able to cope with the turbulent and variable nature of the gusting wind conditions often found in urban environments. In these situations, when the wind speed drops below 2 to 3m per second the turbine continues to operate, a point at which traditional models stop and when the wind picks up draw power from the grid to restart. The McCamley UK turbine does not require this power to restart.
A self-regulating system also means the turbine continues to work efficiently in high gusting wind speeds, keeping at a consistent, steady speed. The absence of down-force from sweeping blades is said to significantly decrease noise and ground vibrations and be less likely to impact on wildlife.
McCamley UK ceo Dr Scott Elliott commented: "We're pleased to be bringing our prototype to the UK for the first time. Wind energy has huge potential in the UK, but the traditional wind farm models are just not effective and are certainly not suitable for urban environments. This leaves a huge gap in the market where businesses, residential blocks and other organisations could be benefiting from clean energy. We believe that this design has the potential to be the new face of wind energy and is completely scalable, from 12kW designs to larger megawatt designs.
During the next six months, Dr Elliot says McCamley UK will realise plans for a 12kW model. Meanwhile, academics and students at Keele University are monitoring the progress of the first prototype and working towards microgeneration certification.
Jonathon Porritt, Chancellor at Keele University, said: "It's really interesting to see McCamley's vision for a new design of wind turbine come to fruition here at Keele. Not only will the turbine support our aim to continue reducing our environmental impact as a university, it will also provide a tool for students to engage with and learn more about the future of renewable energy."
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