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Game Changers

Major breakthrough for wind power

A revolutionary design with major implications


The Ogin FloDesign turbine captures the energy of the wind more efficiently, allowing it to operate at one-third the height of a conventional turbine. This allows FloDesign turbines to be sited in many locations where large contemporary machines are likely to be unsuitable. Clean energy production can be brought much closer to consumers. Utility-scale turbine economics can be achieved through smaller-scale projects that feature low-profile, compact design and quiet operation. These characteristics make a persuasive case for the embrace of wind power in all kinds of locations, contexts and communities.

The FloDesign turbine is built around advances in the aerospace industry that improve efficiency and power output through the use of shroud and vortex technology.  Modular manufacturing and off-site sub-assembly are two further aspects that simplify and speed up on-site construction. One or multiple FloDesign turbines can be sited closer to customers and connected directly to local distribution grids--without the building of long-distance transmission infrastructure. This kind of wind power deployment should entail significant cost savings and much less risk.

In the mid-20th century, open propeller-driven planes with piston engines reached performance limits as blade tip speeds neared the speed of sound.  It was the perfection of the gas turbine engine that enabled modern aircraft and paved the way for the jet age. Ogin considers that its aerospace-inspired turbine offers a similar quantum gain in performance.

They point out that while conventional wind turbines have greatly increased in size and height in recent years, the scale-up has been based around a fundamental design that has not changed much in decades. On the other hand, the shroud design of their machine changes physical airflow patterns through and around the turbine. Its annual energy output [per kW of rated capacity] is increased by 50%, while the peak energy output from the ultra compact rotor increases three times [per unit of swept area]. The result is claimed to be a quiet and compact 100 kW turbine that outperforms any other mid-scale turbine on the market.

The company has made parallel breakthroughs with respect to manufacturing, transportation logistics and on-site assembly. Mass-manufactured parts are sub-assembled at a centralized facility, then delivered over ordinary roads in standard flatbed trucks, for rapid on-site final assembly. This system is projected to shorten the often protracted timelines for planning, development and construction of wind farms. It is particularly suitable for distributed and community wind power projects.

◊ Publ. here 3.2.2014

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