Screwy-looking wind turbine makes little noise and a big claim
Although it's getting increasingly common to see solar panels on the roofs of homes, household wind turbines are still a fairly rare sight. If Rotterdam-based tech firm The Archimedes has its way, however, that will soon change. Today the company officially introduced its Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, which is said to have an energy yield that is "80 percent of the maximum that is theoretically feasible." That's quite the assertion, given that most conventional wind turbines average around 25 to 50 percent.
The 75-kg (165-lb) 1.5-meter (5-ft)-wide Liam obviously doesn't look much like a typical turbine. It draws on the form of the nautilus shell, and the screw pump invented by ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse.
That form factor reportedly results in minimal mechanical resistance, allowing it to spin very freely and to operate quietly – blade noise is one of the common complaints regarding rooftop wind turbines. Additionally, the design is claimed to keep it always pointing into the wind for maximum yield.
Along with its claim of being able to achieve 80 percent of Betz' limit, The Archimedes adds that "The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s], which resembles half of the power consumption of a common household." Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what independent testing reveals. The company states that it has tested the Liam "over 50 times" to confirm the figures, and has already sold 7,000 of the turbines in 14 countries.
That said, the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine should be officially available as of July 1st. Although no price was given in today's announcement, a previous posting on the company website puts it at €3,999 (about US$5,450).
The turbine can be seen in use in the video below.
Source: The Archimedes
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How many times is somebody going to claim to have reinvented the wind turbine before they stop getting press?
This "might" hold true if you are including Africa and other undeveloped countries.
With a 3 bedroom house, all LED or CFL lighting, and very thoughtful heater and AC timing, we use between 800 KWH and 1300 KWH per month. The average in the US is right around 11,000 KWH per year, and this includes high density but highly efficient apartments and condos who wouldn't have the ability to install one of these if they wanted to.
Not saying this isn't an encouraging design especially for very rural properties, but the quoted statistics aren't even remotely indicative of normal modern households.
According to their marketing collateral this thing has been independently tested:
This is obviously not a design for large installation, but if cheap and silent enough this thing could make sense in cities.
In relation to that, you have to get fairly high off the ground to harvest faster wind speeds. You can't put something like this on fence posts. This leads me to question the sense of building ~$10,00 poles to get these ~100 feet off the ground just to install a turbine that is only 5' in diameter. It seems like if you are already going to invest in a structure that tall you might as well go with a larger turbine.
I would say there could be some need for a more compact design for some applications like the tops of buildings in cloudy areas but with so many people making bogus efficiency claims it's impossible to sort through them all without proper independent testing.
"The company states that it has tested the Liam "over 50 times"" as opposed to seeking out independent studies verifying their claims is a huge red flag. Certainly if their claims were actually true they would see value in independent testing instead of expecting people to take them on their word.
It's like all the nut jobs saying they created perpetual motion machines. If they aren't willing to fund an independent study confirming the claims they are making I can only assume even they don't believe them.
I champion alternative energy but the expense needs to be inline with the benefit. Subsidizing this from my pocket is not going to happen here.