Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hong Kong develops tiny turbine

A partnership between a private renewable energy company, Motorwave Limited, and the University of Hong Kong has yielded a micro-wind turbine that can make electricity with wind speeds less than five miles per hour.

Their design looks nothing like the wind turbines most of us are familiar with, however. These turbines are plastic gearwheels that have a rotor diameter of just over 10 inches. They are linked to one another and are turned by the wind. Groups of them can be arranged in different shapes and sizes, depending on how much energy is needed and how much space is available.

Motorwave president Lucien Gambarota explained to
Voice of America that if a customer had very good wind conditions of 11-13 miles per hour, a family of three would need 3-5 square yards of the turbines to meet up to 70 percent of their electricity needs.

This technology is especially promising for those living and working in urban areas who want to use renewable sources for some of their energy.

The micro-turbine is also cheap. A set of 20 gearwheels costs about $25, and the price is expected to go down further if the turbines are popular and mass-produced.

Next month, Hong Kong’s Sea will install turbines on the roof of its building. Gambarota says his ultimate dream is to see the turbines used in developing countries.

China Confidential

Photo credit: Voice of America

1 comment:

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