Another company using flashy wind turbine technology to lure potential customers was SI Clean Energy, the Coffs Harbour-based outfit that was recently awarded the job of designing, supplying, installing and maintaining one the 136.5kW rooftop solar system for Coffs HarbourCity Council. (It also supplied and commissioned the solar inverters for the commercial solar farm in Alice Springs.) Despite its main business being designing, installing and maintaining clean power systems, dominating SI Clean Energy’s display was a massive prototype for the unique-looking Honeywell Wind Turbine, which it will be distributing in Australia for the massive Fortune 100 US technology development company, Honeywell.
Made by WindTronics, it is a gearless wind turbine that features a Blade Tip Power System (BTPS) that the company describes as “breakthrough technology,” allowing the turbine to start producing energy at wind speeds of 2mph (3.2km/h) and to remain operational until 38 mph (62km/h). How it works is that the gearless system eliminates mechanical resistance and drag, while the BTPS, which is based on a system of magnets and stators, captures energy at the tips of the blades, where the speed is the greatest. The turbine’s increased operational span means the turbines can be used by companies, industries and communities in areas where the wind resource is less than ideal.
SI Clean Energy sales rep Haydn Fletcher told CS the mining industry was a prime target for the technology, as it is designed for use at the point of energy consumption, and has few moving parts to reduce maintenance requirements. The 6 ft (diameter), 109kg (they’re made of polycarbonate, aluminum and steel) turbines can be mounted on a rooftop, a ballast, or a pole, and the power can be connected directly to the building, to the grid, or to batteries. Each turbine can produce up to 1500kWh per year depending on height and location – that’s up to 15-20 per cent of the average household’s annual electricity needs, according to the US DOE. It is also quieter than most turbines, producing less than 35 decibels at 10 feet with “negligible vibrations.”