Environment

Honeywell wind turbine is a breeze to run – and a light one at that

The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine from EarthTronics measures less than 6 feet (1.8m) across and weighs less than 95lbs (43kg)
The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine from EarthTronics measures less than 6 feet (1.8m) across and weighs less than 95lbs (43kg)
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The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine from EarthTronics measures less than 6 feet (1.8m) across and weighs less than 95lbs (43kg)
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The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine from EarthTronics measures less than 6 feet (1.8m) across and weighs less than 95lbs (43kg)
The turbine can be installed on a house or business rooftop, wall or on a self-standing pole, so that power is generated where it is consumed
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The turbine can be installed on a house or business rooftop, wall or on a self-standing pole, so that power is generated where it is consumed
The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine comes with a computerized control box, power inverter, and an interconnect switch to wire the system into a household panel
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The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine comes with a computerized control box, power inverter, and an interconnect switch to wire the system into a household panel
The Windgate generates energy using its gearless “free wheeling” Blade Tip Power System that reduces mechanical resistance and drag
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The Windgate generates energy using its gearless “free wheeling” Blade Tip Power System that reduces mechanical resistance and drag

Has affordable, practical home wind power generation become a reality? The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine from EarthTronics looks like it could be a contender. Developers EarthTronics and Honeywell Corp hope the Windgate wind turbine will help meet the energy needs of homeowners and businesses, even if they are not located in prime “windy” areas. EarthTronics says the 6-foot wide, 95-pound Windgate can start to spin in breezes as low as 2mph and can create more power with less wind than other types of wind turbines.

One of the biggest obstacles to the widespread use of wind power generation is that many areas just aren’t that windy. In the US, for example, wind suitable for power generation is concentrated on the coasts and in parts of the Midwest. In fact, some estimates indicate that 90 percent of US wind resources average 9mph (14.5kph) or less. Most traditional wind turbine designs don’t start spinning until 7 or 8mph (12kph), and so finding a place to install the turbine becomes a major issue.

Wind turbine companies are addressing this challenge in a variety of innovative ways. We have previously covered the AeroVironment system that takes advantage of a building’s aerodynamics to maximize windflow, and the Windspire vertical-axis design that uses a small installed footprint. But most manufacturers focus instead on building large-scale systems that are installed away from where the generated power is needed. See our reports on the ocean-based HyWind and the high-altitude Magenn systems.

EarthTronics and Honeywell attempt to address this challenge by making the Windgate suitable for installation where the power is being consumed, even in areas with light winds. The Windgate measures just 6 feet (1.8m) across and weighs less than 95lbs (43kg). The turbine can be installed on a house or business rooftop, wall or on a self-standing pole. The Windgate’s design eliminates the geared hub design found in other turbines, and EarthTronics says this allows the unit to run more quietly and with less vibration.

EarthTronics designed the Windgate to start spinning in light winds as low as 2mph (3.2kph). To accomplish this, the turbine generates energy using its gearless “free wheeling” Blade Tip Power System, which reduces mechanical resistance and drag. Rim-mounted permanent magnets generate power at the tips of the fan blades - the fastest moving area - instead of at the fan hub as in traditional turbine designs. The efficiency of this design, the company says, allows the Windgate to operate in a greater range of wind speeds (2 to 45mph, 3.2 to 72.4kph) than traditional wind turbines. Traditional turbines typically begin turning at 7.5mph (12.1kph) and shut down around 29mph (46.7kph) to protect their gearing systems.

The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine comes with a computerized control box, power inverter, and an interconnect switch to wire the system into a household panel. A professional electrician is required for installation and the homeowner must also supply one or more automotive-type batteries to complete the system. Once installed, the Windgate can create up to 2000 kilowatt hours (kW) of power per year, which is about 15 percent of an average household’s energy needs.

The EarthTronics Honeywell Windgate will be available this northern fall. Initially it will be sold in ACE Hardware stores in the US for USD$4,500. EarthTronics says that the turbine’s installed cost is about one third of the cost of traditional turbines, with a lower installed cost per kW than other turbines on the market.

In the US, homeowners are eligible for federal and state rebates that cover anywhere from 30 percent to 100 percent of the overall cost of the turbine, making the Windgate an even more affordable option for personal wind power generation.

Honeywell Wind Turbine

Earthtronics Commercial 512k

18 comments
Island Architect
It is amazing that people are finally getting it that wind power generators do not use propellers. They have to use resistors. Dead flat, highly polished stainless steel is best. They are finally beginning to replicate the studies by Bill Allison, the retired engineer from Ford, in the mid 80s are correct. You can hit the 60% theoretical maximum efficiency but you do have to mitigate the cone of resistance that builds up in front of the fan. Bill found that the best way to do that was to remove two blades directly opposite from each other. The cone instantly disappeared. He found 10 blades to pull the most power. No need to pay extra for the shroud. The problem back then was having a variable speed generator. Yes his fans would take off spinning like crazy in small breezes. And he used to get a kick laughing at the propellers desinged by NASA. He calculated that a 18ft dia fan would provide all the power that a house would ever need and probably some left over to power the auto as well. Reinventing seems to be going on.
jerryd
This is a terrible design and way too costly for what you geIf handy you can make a much better one for much less that makes much more power. google Axial-flux wind generator or join a wind gen yahoogroup Never believe any wind gen company that says they can make power under 7mph as there is no power under that. Wind power goes up the cube of the wind speed after that.
Roderick Bertrand
Reinventing or copying, at least people will look at this stuff now and maybe even buy it.
Gadgeteer
There was much more to Bill Allison\'s design than just "remove two blades directly opposite from each other." The blades also were staggered front-to-back. And his work dates back to the 1970s, not 1980s. This Windgate design owes more to Tom Chalk's "bicycle wheel" turbine from the early 1970s. Like the Windgate, the Chalk started spinning at very low wind speeds. But the Windgate likely shares the main problem of the Chalk, namely that there's no protection from high wind speeds, which will overload the structure.
pbvt
if this will only provide about 15% of the annual homes usage, I would think it would take many years for it to pay for itself. Since the average person only lives in a house for 7-9 years before moving, I doubt it would ever pay for itself for the majority of people.
Koala
My house only uses about 45-50 kwh per month ( this is a rough guess from the last time I saw my electric bill ) so this would reduce my electric bill to nothing and even provide me a credit towards my gas usage.. whoohoo!!!
jac05
Industry expert Paul Gipe has already reviewed this product and, as you can imagine, says its full of BS: \"There is no substantiation to back up the promoter\'s claims and the claims themselves are exaggerated.\" Also of note: \"There are no units in use. One turbine has been \"tested\" in a wind tunnel. Thus, all claims about the product are projecture. Those who have followed the debate about performance measurements of small turbines realize that testing in a wind tunnel is not testing at all. Wind tunnel \"tests\" are useful only for design not for estimating the performance of the wind turbine in the field. Though no turbines have been tested in the field, Earthronics has hired a public relations company.\" Something tells me the positive comments on the internet about this product are nothing more than a hired PR firm doing its job..the product and company are clearly shady.
wblais1
Guys -- this is headed in the right direction, but -- don\'t stop there! Start with this: http://www.gizmag.com/flodesign-high-efficiency-wind-turbine-based-on-jet-engine-technology/10556/ Combine the magic of their jet corkscrew drafting air-flow, with your rim-mounted permanent magnets at the tips of the fan blades, as shown here with the \"Honeywell wind turbine\". http://www.gizmag.com/earthtronics-honeywell-windgate-wind-turbine/11990/ Which I expected to increase efficiency tremendously... Now - that\'s a real powerhouse! Instead of two semi-successful products fighting for tiny, fragile market-share... combine forces -- grow your market potential -- and each take half of the big pie! c\'mon guys -- you can do it!
Facebook User
The multi-blade turbine with more blades than space between them has been tried many times before. The problem with that type is the drag is too high. Build your own windmill. See otherpower.com The design starts with the lower end of a Mac Pherson automotive suspension strut and spindle for the bearing hub, flipped upside down, the strut tube acts as the pivot bearing on top of the pole. The site also shows a passive self furling design that controls the turbine speed while still making power. Very innovative and inexpensive. The super strong permanent magnets are the most expensive part of the turbine. If you want to put a lot less work into the blades, make just one blade then build a scaled up Copycarver to exactly duplicate it for the other two.
just.thomas
some of the cost might be recaptured more quickly here in the deep south US by positioning this horizontally over an AC condenser unit. Those things are blowing pretty much around the clock from April - October down here.
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