[HUGE SIGH]

I just caught this today.

Ford to install wind and solar energy at dealerships


I couldn’t let this one go. Another installation of kinetic architecture. And so, blatted out the following on this post…

[POST #1]

I’m fairly certain the PV arrays will be the stars of producing the flow of electrons. And unless the wind turbines have been sited correctly, they will only be kinetic architecture ==> another green gone wrong installation by green fashionistas Wind Energy Corporation.

[POST #2]

As someone who performed post-graduate research of the performance of small wind turbines in the built environment, this installation is questionable at best. And just based on the photo, I’m pretty sure this installation was not sited well, which only gives small wind a bad name.

I also went to the vendor’s,  Wind Energy Corporation’s web site, and all I could locate was a single landing page. Red flag #1. I also searched for Jack Phillips on Linkedin and his background is only in accounting and int’l business, NOT computational fluid dynamics or mechanical engineering. Red flag #2.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs) like the ones here, are NOT immune to turbulence. Rapid, turbulent low-level wind increases the fatigue on a VAWT just like an Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs). HAWTs are just as sensitive to changing wind direction and turbulence as VAWTs, especially if the turbine is installed on too short a tower.

Readers to this post should also know:

  • VAWTs perform better if they too are mounted higher in smoothest, strongest wind, not near to the ground or close to the tops of buildings or other structures, natural canopies.
  • VAWTs blades are prone to fatigue created by centrifugal forces as the blades spin around the central axis –> they are less reliable  than HAWTs.
  • VAWTs require large bearings at the tower top to permit the shaft to rotate and thick steel cable to supper them –> more costly, especially when repairs and maintenance are needed.
  • VAWTs are less reliable and less efficient that HAWTs, and made worse if they are mounted at ground level or on top of buildings. And the ones in this photo are clearly close to ground level.

Reference: Power from the Wind by Dan Chiras with contributions from Mick Sagrillo and Ian Woofenden.

It is a well-known fact that, by seasoned professional small wind turbine experts, VAWTs, like these are less efficient than HAWTs  and made worse by being mounted closer to ground level boundary level–the few advantages they offer cannot counter the many, fatal disadvantages sited so close to ground level.

Small wind turbine installations are not advised that do not meet the  best practices recommendation of at least 30 feet above the closest obstacle, er trees included, within 500 feet, and are well inside the turbulence bubble (vertically ~2xs the height of the obstruction/house(s) and downwind ~15x – 20x the height of the obstruction/house(s)). Raising a wind turbine, be it HAWT or VAWT,  into the smoothest, strongest wind ensures greater electrical production and longer machine life.

I would also encourage readers to focus more on the performance data vs power curve information. I realize that rated power of wind turbines/power curves was devised to provide customers a way to compare wind turbines. I think folks need to understand that its usefulness has been limited. After taking another look (since it was back in 2009 that I looked into performance data from the results of the Warwick Wind Trials), I see updated standards in the wind industry for determining rated power has been established for comparison across models i.e. 5 m/s [11 mph].

Perhaps the editor, James Murray will revisit this read and ensure the truth is told about this well-intended offering. Not holding my breath, especially because they keep deleting my posts. Yeah, well, you know…Fleh.

 

PREPARE. RESPOND. ADAPT.