In spite of having been around since the days of the Persian Empire, you don’t see too many vertical axis wind generators. Now a Nevada company “Mariah Power” has launched a product rated at 1.0 kilowatt and designed for home power systems.
|The “Windspire” vertical axis
generator is 30′ high & 2′ wide.
Photo: Mariah Power
When I met Mariah Power’s VP of Marketing, Tracy Twist, last week in Sacramento, she showed me an actual cross-section of the rotor. It is only two feet wide, but 20 feet tall. Standing on a 10 foot tower, with the inverter and generator attached immediately to the bottom of the rotor, this windmill appears simpler to manufacture and maintain compared to traditional horizontal axis windmills.
The problem has been getting sufficient efficiency from the rotor. Because vertical wind rotors have a lower RPM compared to conventional wind rotors, the challenge has been to find a generator that can still generate adequate power at these lower speeds. Mariah Power has on patent awarded and other patents pending on their generator which they believe have solved this problem. They have three prototype generators already constructed which they have submitted to 3rd party testing centers to verify their claims.
Mariah Power’s “Windspire” has the potential to be installed in places where a horizontal rotor might not be practical. Because the rotor turns around on a single tower that depends on one concrete pier anchored below ground, there is a smaller footprint for this unit. The unit is designed to facilitate easy installation, and is rated to survive in winds up to 100 mph. The minimum wind speed necessary for the unit to begin generating power is only 8 mph.
Innovative small scale wind generators are surprisingly scarce. Innovations such as Mariah Power’s “Windspire” as well as pending designs from other manufacturers may eventually begin appearing on the tops and sides of urban high-rises, where at these relatively high altitudes the wind is more consistent and electricity yields could be quite useful.
To find out more about the Windspire, visit their website Mariah Power. To familiarize yourself with the top producers of conventional small wind generators in the USA, visit Bergey Windpower, or Southwest Windpower.