Think of wind turbines and massive blades spinning above Kansas prairies or off Danish coastlines are probably what comes to mind, but Minnesota-based Janulus has developed something a little more portable. Having found crowdfunding success in 2014 with its 12-inch (30 cm) cylindrical vertical axis (Savonius) type Trinity wind turbine, the company is now returning to the well for an updated version that is available in four different sizes and switches between horizontal and vertical axis form factors.
Last year’s Trinity 50 wind turbine included an internal 15-watt generator with USB ports and would generate enough power in one hour from a 10 mph (16 km/h) breeze to charge a cell phone. Janulus (previously known as Skajaquoda, which proved too difficult for many to pronounce) has now redesigned the Trinity 50 to convert into a three-blade, horizontal type wind turbine with 50-watt generation that sits alongside three new additions – the Trinity 400, 1000 and 2500. These are basically larger versions with increasing size and levels of power generation, and which also convert from horizontal to vertical axis turbines.
The Trinity 2500, the largest of the line, is especially compelling for its power generation and portability. Standing at 39 inches (100 cm) without its 40-inch tripod stand unfolded, the unit weighs 42 pounds (19 kg) and comes with a 2,500-watt generator that charges a 300,000-mAh lithium-ion battery pack. According to Agust Agustsson, vice president of Janulus, the Trinity 2500, "generates and stores power to run small appliances or to charge your home, electric car and laptop, phone or other gadget." Folded up in its cylinder tube carrying case, each Trinity fits easily in the trunk of an electric car.
Besides portability, other features of the Trinity wind turbines are their ease of use and low cost. Inverter, batteries and controllers are built in to the unit, while the wind turbine is essentially plug-and-play. This allows the Trinity to plug into a wall socket and convert the power it generates and stores to provide power to all other outlets – no electrician is required. The unit also switches automatically between charging devices from the battery or directly from the turbine, depending on how much electricity is being generated.
"We come from a country that is completely run on renewable energy," said Agustsson of his native Iceland. "After spending a few years in the USA we witnessed both the high cost of electricity and the harmful effects of the carbon fuels used to create it. We built our first wind turbine to lower the energy bill and that was the beginning of the development process of the Trinity. We wanted to design a portable product that gave people easy access to sustainable energy."
Wind turbines are especially advantageous for the company’s home in the upper Midwest of the U.S., with its long, cloudy winters and higher than average wind speeds. The minimum speed for the Trinity to work is 4 mph (6.5 km/h). Once speeds reach 25 mph (40 km/h), the turbine can be converted to the vertical setting.
The Trinity also comes with a smartphone app, which allow users to monitor the battery level, turn the blades on or off, see how much electricity is being generated as well as the historical data of wind and energy generated.
Agustsson expects the Trinity to begin shipping at the beginning of 2016 if all goes to plan. Pledge levels range from US$399 for the Trinity 50, to $5,999 for the Trinity 2500.
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