Wind Energy Returns to Its Watery Roots

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For nearly as long as people have harnessed wind to perform work, it has been used to move water from one place to another. Whether used for agricultural irrigation, wetlands drainage or pumping water from wells, wind machines have long been a relatively cheap and easy way to pump water, particularly in off-grid applications where electric alternatives are impractical or impossible. And while a handful of companies still make wind pumps, little has changed in the underlying technology for nearly a century — until now. A Massachusetts company announced last week it had sold its first wind-powered water pump system in Colorado.

Worcester, Massachusetts-based Mass Megawatts has developed a wind-powered water pumping unit that it says provides a lower-cost solution when compared to traditional water pumping systems, including those powered by diesel generators.

Mass Megawatts’ wind-powered water pump uses the company’s patented MMW wind augmenter technology to increase the wind velocity directed at the wind turbine. By funneling the wind into narrow channels where it speeds up, the augmenter is responsible for increasing power to its turbines by an average of 70 percent.

According to the company, over three times as much power is generated by its augmenter technology compared to the production wind turbines of an equal power rating in an “un-augmented” air stream. And the technology, according to company documents, does not require the same high-demand components used in other wind turbine technologies, thereby keeping costs down.

The technology is also not limited to use as a wind pump. The company is developing wind machines that generate electricity which can be stored in on-site battery banks.

The company says its technology is scalable from smaller 10 kW ‘home and farm’ systems to multi-megawatt utility installations and provides solutions to the two major wind project stumbling blocks: tower height and lower wind resource. But while the system may have a lower profile than many turbine technologies, the bulky framework required by the wind augmenter may still make it unpopular with some.

Mass Megawatts (OTCBB: MMMW), which began building its turbine arrays and MMW wind augmenters at a Colorado plant in late 2011, is a publicly-traded company with less than twelve million shares issued and outstanding.

Article by Timothy Hurst, appearing courtesy Earth & Industry.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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