Windation Energy Systems has developed an urban-wind rooftop turbine designed for commercial and industrial buildings. Billed as “permit-ready” and “bird safe,” Windation’s 5 kW turbine resembles a commercial AC unit and leverages a proprietary vacuum system to purportedly amplify wind speed and boost energy output. The company’s first installation is expected this quarter in Palo Alto, CA.
CleanTechies aimed four questions at CEO and founder Mark Sheikhrezai.
CleanTechies: Your statement on the Palo Alto project says it’s “permit-ready” and “bird-safe.” What makes it so?
Mark Sheikhrezai: Windation develops “ducted wind systems,” enclosed machines that resemble a commercial air conditioning unit. Each Windation unit measures 9x9x10 feet and weighs roughly 2,200 lbs, less than half an HVAC system. This conventional size, shape, and weight enable Windation’s wind systems to meet established permitting and siting codes for rooftop appliances and uses the same method of installation.
By internally housing the rotating blades and generator, the threat to birds and other wildlife is eliminated. In fact a number of safety, maintenance and other advantages result form the enclosed design, including minimizing noise, vibration, and aesthetics concerns.
CleanTechies: How will this be used at most businesses?
Mark Sheikhrezai: Windation’s Turbo WindMill 5000 can produce 10,000 kWh per year in average wind speeds of 7.2 m/s. The energy generated will feed directly into the building’s electrical system and reduce the amount of energy consumed from the utility grid. If higher generation capacities are desired, multiple Turbo WindMills can be installed on individual buildings; only 30ft of open space is required.
CleanTechies: Tell us about the proprietary vacuum system. How does it work
Mark Sheikhrezai: Wind in city environments is more variable and turbulent than in rural settings, therefore an urban wind system must be equipped to handle incoming wind from all directions. The technology behind Windation’s urban wind system was inspired by Persian wind-catcher buildings. The system captures and funnels turbulent wind in a smooth, counterclockwise stream. A vortex is created beneath the internal turbine enabling a vacuum effect, pulling more wind into the frame and amplifying input loads.
Energy available in the wind is proportional to the cube of its speed. A basic principle that applies to all wind turbines is the faster the wind stream, the more energy will be generated. While the cut-in speed for Windation’s unit is 2.7 m/s, the system is most effective operating within the range of 4.5 to 9 m/s.
CleanTechies: Is there an energy storage component to this? What kind of battery if there is?
Mark Sheikhrezai: The unit is tied to the utility grid. Any additional energy generated that is not consumed on-site is fed to the grid.