Friday, December 05, 2014
New Slant on Wind Power
In the post “No Tilting at this Urban Windmill” on October 24th, the vertical wind power technology of City Windmills was introduced. In addition to City Windmills we have added other vertical axis windmill developers to the Wind Group in our Electric Earth Index. Most of the new names are private companies and offer little near-term investment opportunity. However, it seems prudent to for investors to get acquainted with the most recent developments in various wind power technologies. For most of us, the conventional rotor turbine on a tower is our only experience with wind power. There are other approaches, some of which offer some credible solutions to the problems associated with conventional rotor turbines: high bird death, health problems associated with turbine noise, and limitations on wind farm sights.
Now a part of Sauer Energy Helix Wind is attempting to perfect a particular vertical axis design called Savonius, featuring aerofoils mounted on a rotating shaft. Helix proposes to mount its double helical ‘scoops’ on a tower up to 35 feet high. The design is particularly useful in low wind speed situations to power residential or commercial buildings. The company had been publicly traded until later 2011, when leadership filed to terminate the security registration. Helix assets were bought out by Sauer Energy in 2012. Since then news on technology development has been limited. The corporate website appears to be in need of an update. I note that Sauer was reportedly also trying to perfect a vertical axis wind power technology called ‘Windcharger.’ This is a three-blade Savonius-type design. We suspect that Sauer bought the Helix assets for the sake of mining the best of the Helix design, engineering and performance tracking software. We have included the two in one entry in our Wind Group.
The last of our Wind Group additions is Windspire, another vertical axis wind power developer. Unlike the other vertical axis models, Windspire has perfected a Darrieus-type design. The company has several models available for green building applications. Building owners might be particularly interested in the Windspire models because of the form factor. A Windspire model is about thirty feet tall but only about two feet in diameter. It is touted as bird-friendly and low-noise. Mariah Energy was at one point held up an early adopter of Windspire, but the power developer has had little to report to the public in about two years. At any rate the vertical wind power design displayed on the Mariah corporate web site is not that of Windspire.
We have begun to track these vertical wind power developers along with the other high altitude developers. Of course, we have not forgotten the conventional rotor turbines mounted on towers. The conventional design represents the vast majority of wind power installations and that lead is not likely to be usurped any time soon.
Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.