A prototype for a brand new design of wind turbine was installed at Keele University Science and Business Park in the UK. The new design is especially adapted for use in urban settings. It could someday be ubiquitous in the city landscape when office and residential buildings incorporate this technology in their rooftops to harness clean energy from wind power.
McCamley UK Ltd., a pioneering renewables company, built the prototype. It was designed to overcome the limitations of traditional turbines.
Traditional wind turbines found in wind farms use a large horizontal axis. It relies on a steady wind. If the wind speed drops below 2-3 meters per second, the device shuts down. If the wind picks up speed, the device restarts by drawing power from the grid.
In contrast, the McCamley turbine uses a vertical axis. It is able to cope with the turbulent and variable gusting wind conditions in urban settings. It continues to operate below a wind speed of 2-3 meters per second. It is also a self-starting device.
It is easy to assemble the McCamley turbine from flat and stackable parts. It can be retrofitted in roofs without a supporting mast; hence, it is suitable for use in both rural and urban areas.
The new design has a self-regulating system to control the speed of the turbine, especially in high gusting wind conditions. This means the device continues to work efficiently by maintaining a consistent steady speed.
In addition, the device has no down-force from sweeping blades. This causes significant reduction of noise and ground vibrations. The design of the turbine is also wildlife friendly.
McCamley is working closely with Keele University to acquire microgeneration certification of the new turbine. If accepted, businesses that choose to install the device will be able to benefit from the Government Feed-In Tariff scheme.
In the next few months, McCamley will work on plans for a 12kW model. The turbine design is completely scalable, from 12-kilowatt designs to large megawatt designs.
Jonathan Porritt, Chancellor at Keele University, expresses satisfaction in witnessing the vision of McCamley became tangible at Keele. He says this development is in alignment with the university’s goal of sustainability and reduction of environmental impact. It also provides a tool for students to engage and learn more about renewable energy.