Local company develops small wind turbine for home and commercial use
Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Issue 21, Volume 18.
Bechtel said the company has designed and built a compact Wind Turbine Generation System (WTGS) that can produce more than enough energy to power the average home.
"We are still in the development stage but we are looking at building five kilowatts per hour system," Bechtel said. "The average home consumes between two and a half to three and a half kilowatts per hour so one turbine can generate enough energy to run a house every hour."
Currently, the company is in the process of working with Riverside County and University of California, Riverside for the modeling and prototype of the WTGS.
"We have been in contact with UC Riverside through their engineering department and they are very interested in the wind turbine," Bechtel said. "We want to use their senior class who has a competition with 16 other colleges for wind turbine development. My goal is to bring it to a grass roots level. That is why I wanted to go through a university."
The WTGS is much smaller than the turbines that are commonly seen dotting the landscape throughout Riverside County’s rural areas. It was invented by Paul Moretto, CEO of Universal Wind Turbine LLC. Moretto also holds the patent for the 4-foot high turbine which is intended for individual home and commercial
"The ones you see in Palm Springs are humongous, the blades are 110 feet long," Bechtel said. "What we have is innovative because it is free standing and small. We’d like to have it on the roof of a house or a commercial building."
One of the goals of the project is to utilize as many recyclable materials as possible, Bechtel said.
"There are so many different technologies for polymers, lightweight material and recycled materials," he said. "We want this wind turbine to be made out of as much recycled and lightweight and composite material as possible. We want renewable and reusable material."
The generator itself was designed focusingon the principle of a jet engine, but where the jet engine has two rotatable turbines on a vertical plane, the WTGS’s two turbines are connected on a horizontal plane. This design results in having two turbines being hit simultaneously by incoming wind.
As the wind fuels the WTGS it is redirected to hit each blade six times, multiplying the WTGS power within any blowing wind. Unlike existing windmills, each turbine within the WTGS follows the flow of the wind like sails on a sailboat or as a water wheel follows the path of the water.
"The patent for the WTGS includes 20 novelties including the horizontal design utilization of the reverse principle causing leverage and increasing its power, and its small size which blends in seamlessly with existing buildings," Bechtel said.
Bechtel says the WTGS is designed not to replace solar, but rather compliment it. According to his estimates, to run only wind turbines should cost homeowners just a little less than solar at the current rates for the average home.
"I don’t think of solar being our competitor, we want to be complimentary towards solar, which can only generate so much electricity. Solar gets between four and five hours of sunlight and sometimes even six but that is the max," Bechtel said, noting that the wind blows 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"The U.S. Department of Energy has a site that forecasts all the different wind speeds throughout the U.S. and the average wind speed is 7 to 13 miles per hour. In California that wind speed is seven miles per hour. Our wind turbine will turn typically at three to four miles per hour so it’s fully generating electricity for you."
Once financing is secured the company can begin mass production, bringing jobs into the area.
"There would be a minimum of 10 jobs just for manufacturing, then when you figure in the marketing and sales force that number could grow to 100 jobs easily," he said. "You’ve got the trickle effect; when you have the demand you need the supply. We could definitely employ quite a few
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