Ecotricity, a large UK-based renewable energy company, is now looking to enter the micro wind sector. It is currently in the process of testing its own turbine design, which it says may be as much as 40% more efficient than similarly sized turbines that are now on the market.
The general idea and reasoning behind the decision, and the new wind turbine itself, is to bring a high-quality and very efficient model to the market, while simultaneously addressing and challenging the generally low-quality and poor design of the domestic-sized turbines that are available now.
According to Ecotricity’s founder Dale Vince, the low quality of what is now available may harm the image of the technology in the public perception.
“Most micro windmills on the market are simply scaled down versions of large wind turbines, and that is a mistake,” he said. “We don’t want people getting disillusioned and becoming skeptical about renewable energy because they buy a small windmill and it doesn’t work as well as it could.”
The new design goes by the name of Urbine, and is of a vertical axis design. The developers argue that vertical axis designs are better suited to urban areas than other designs, as they allow the utilization of wind regardless of what direction that it is coming from — no adjustments necessary.
Ecotricity has more:
The vertical-axis 6kW Urbine will undergo six months testing near the company’s headquarters in Stroud, Gloucestershire, next to Ecotricity’s existing large wind turbine, before undergoing official performance certification at Myres Hill wind turbine test site in Scotland.
After six months, a second Urbine will be installed at the Myres Hill Wind Turbine Test Site in Scotland which offers high average wind speeds and complex terrain. It will go through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme for the UK market, which all wind machines have to do, then making it eligible for feed-in tariff scheme support.
Sounds promising. As of now, solar energy tends to dominate on the small scale, but there is certainly room for further growth in the micro wind sector.