Honeywell wind turbine is a breeze to run – and a light one at that
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.
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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.
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.
\"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.
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!
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.