17 June 2008 – A novel wind turbine design has been unveiled by BroadStar Wind Systems. The turbine, known as the AeroCam, is aimed at commercial applications.
The machine will be available in 10, 250 and 500 kW designs and BroadStar says its 250 kW machine costs $250,000, the first to break through the $1/Watt cost barrier.
Looking rather like an old-fashioned water wheel with parallel rotor blades, the device can be manufactured, transported, installed and maintained at lower cost than conventional designs, the manufacturers say.
The design is also more compact and can be discretely enclosed, making wind power generation possible in a greater variety of locations. The device is also capable of operating over a broad range of wind speeds, around 4 – 80 mph.
Suitable for densely populated urban areas and unconventional sites such as commercial developments and corporate campuses, in addition, there is a significant opportunity to increase capacity of existing wind farms, BroadStar says.
Because the AeroCam is smaller and sits closer to the ground, and can capture abundant surface-wind energy without disrupting the smooth airflows that taller and larger propeller-based turbines need to operate effectively, it offers a practical, economical way to infill existing farms for greater overall power generation.
Based on principles first established by the French aeronautical engineer Georges Jean Marie Darrieus, who invented a wind turbine capable of operating from any direction and under adverse weather conditions, Darrieus machines typically have a vertical axis, whereas the AeroCam design has a horizontal axis with multiple blades.
The major innovation in the design, however, is the ability to automatically and interactively adjust the pitch or angle of attack of the aerodynamic blades as the turbine rotates, thereby optimizing its performance.
Wind tunnel tests are taking place this year prior to pre-commercial launch, with two of the devices set to be installed in August and a further five pilot sites operating by the end of the year, including one of the larger versions of the design.
The lift principle-based machines have mechanically controlled 360o pitch control and the larger versions have a turntable allowing them to adjust the yaw into the most efficient orientation.