Energy

Mesmerizing vertical turbine wall to enter customer trials this year

Mesmerizing vertical turbine wall to enter customer trials this year
Pre-production Airiva units are expected to start customer pilots in the second half of this year, a head of initial orders from 2025
Pre-production Airiva units are expected to start customer pilots in the second half of this year, a head of initial orders from 2025
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Pre-production Airiva units are expected to start customer pilots in the second half of this year, a head of initial orders from 2025
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Pre-production Airiva units are expected to start customer pilots in the second half of this year, a head of initial orders from 2025
The hypnotic Airiva system is designed to complement other renewable energy technologies, not compete with them
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The hypnotic Airiva system is designed to complement other renewable energy technologies, not compete with them
A 4.2 x 1.05-m per-unit footprint is likely too large for residential installations, though the Airiva system is aimed more at company campuses, harbors or airports
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A 4.2 x 1.05-m per-unit footprint is likely too large for residential installations, though the Airiva system is aimed more at company campuses, harbors or airports
Each Airiva unit is made up of two segments, with each segment home to four vertical turbines
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Each Airiva unit is made up of two segments, with each segment home to four vertical turbines
An eight-turbine Airiva unit is reckoned capable of producing 2,200 kWh of energy annually
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An eight-turbine Airiva unit is reckoned capable of producing 2,200 kWh of energy annually
System designer Joe Doucet and team began with 16 turbine wall designs, ultimately selecting a helical turbine to move into prototyping and production
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System designer Joe Doucet and team began with 16 turbine wall designs, ultimately selecting a helical turbine to move into prototyping and production
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Since revealing a concept for an energy generating wall back in 2021, designer Joe Doucet has been working on bringing the idea to life. That time is here with the launch of Airiva, a modular rotary wind turbine wall destined for installation on city buildings and infrastructure.

The idea in 2021 was to build a mesmerizing wall of 25 vertical-axis turbines, each connected to a generator for a total peak power output of 10 kilowatts.

As we noted at the time, that's an attractive figure but the intermittent nature of wind could see potential daily energy production of 240 kWh knocked down to a faction of that – we estimated 84 kWh based on average capacity of massive land-based tri-blade turbines in the US. But even that figure is likely overgenerous given that vertical-axis turbines are less efficient than those massive horizontal-axis beasts.

In the years since, Doucet and partners have reportedly tweaked and tested 16 blade configurations before focusing on four, then two and then settling on a helical design. More refinement followed, with the Airiva system now made up of sizable turbine units comprising two 2.1 x 2.1 x 1.05-m (6.9 x 6.9 x 3.4-ft) segments plus an end hub unit that's home to controls, comms and power management systems.

The hypnotic Airiva system is designed to complement other renewable energy technologies, not compete with them
The hypnotic Airiva system is designed to complement other renewable energy technologies, not compete with them

Each unit houses eight turbines and is reckoned capable of producing around 2,200 kWh annually, which isn't a huge amount in the great scheme of things but could certainly help put a dent in domestic energy bills. Fast Company reports that "an average-sized home in the US" would require five such units for 100% of electricity needs to be met by the system – that's quite a large footprint.

The same overview reveals that residential isn't really the main market for the Airiva system though. Multiple units could be daisy chained together along highways or spanning bridges, company or university campuses might also be able to accommodate larger installations, as could airports, harbors, transport hubs and so on.

"Airiva is a modular, scalable and smart wind energy system consisting of an array of vertical wind turbines within a contemporary frame," said Doucet in a recent LinkedIn post. "The elevated design plays a meaningful role in adoption and integrates within the architecture and infrastructure of our urban and suburban landscapes to bring clean energy closer to where we live and work."

The company is still at the prototyping stage as of writing, but expects to start customer pilots in the second half of this year ahead of opening the order books in 2025. Though no hard figures have been shared at this time, Airiva's website states that the company's "targeted LCOE is competitive both domestically and internationally against other smaller scale distributed energy resources." No doubt the upcoming pilots will reveal the data to back up such claims.

Source: Airiva

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11 comments
11 comments
TechGazer
Good choice of photo. Man strolling past gives a much better impression than bloody turbines with a child jammed between two. Also more attractive than the turbines covered with a protective mesh. Also, is there much wind energy at street level in cities? Occasional strong gusts are annoying, but don't have much annual energy content.

If there are city streets with strong fairly constant winds, some turbines--maybe traditional bladed types suspended above street level--would produce useful power and reduce wind intensity for pedestrians.
Rick O
Chain link fence on both sides will be a necessity. If they have that, I would gladly replace my front fence with a row of these. Of course, I'm sure it will cost a lot more than that fence. But I get a ton of wind that beats up the front of my house all the time, might as well get some return on it. And for my area, it would probably have a better output than a solar roof.
paul314
Do these things extract a significant percentage of energy from the wind? Because in windswept plazas/courtyards/passageways that might be a really helpful quality.
Derrick H Allbritton
Your getting close to explaining shape shifting, like thies beings that come to gather from a smoke like cloud and from a human that is invisible to the eye, but can be seen with a camera I guess this would be a spirit state. There seems to be more unseen than seen, when you start looking for it you'll find it.
JeJe
And the dead-birds-per-unit-per-year?
Paul S
This thing will have a really low energy output. The wind gradient close to any surface, be it ground, or a roof, is very significant. Let alone the wind direction aspects, and of course the low efficiency of a twisted Savonius rotor. It’s a WOTAM.
veryken
You mean (or they mean) PUBLIC testing, as in the acceptance of these things visually by the public. It's not just "customer trials" in terms of electrical usage, efficiency, or market cost. Neighbors and residents crying *eyesore* — or worse, customers not wanting these things because of their appearance will be the biggest factor in commercial success or failure.
epochdesign
These would be useful, maybe placed on building rooftops in windy areas. The one design error I can see here, that will significantly reduce efficiency and increase noise, is all the rotors rotating in the same direction. Adjacent rotor spinning the same direction will slow each other down and create an air buffeting effect. Adjacent rotors spinning in opposite directions, play off the others energy in a positive way, increasing efficiency and do not create an air buffeting effect. Yes, I'm sure there would be safety measures to put in place if installed in a public zone. I'm a bird lover too: vertical wind turbines create an optical effect that birds avoid, so bird strike should be pretty minimal.
dcris
Intuitively.... looks like it will have more issues than gains as a viable wind power setup. BUT.... the ability to get power from wind in decentralized formats IS the direction away from the 'dinosaurs' dotting the countryside. So carry on and much success please.
MCG
The wind is constantly blowing along busy highways with cars racing along. I would not mind these catching the breezes as we fly by.
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