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Wind Turbines Big and Small at WINDPOWER 2008

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This is a guest post provided by Maria Surma Manka direct from WINDPOWER 2008.  Maria writes about renewable energy policy, innovation, and private sector leadership at Maria Energia.

Greetings from Houston, site of the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER 2008 conference. I am a guest of AWEA and have spent the last few days meeting several of the 12,000 attendees and visiting many of the nearly 800 exhibitors.  Below are some of the interesting small wind turbine designs I found.

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Nano Vent-Skin Demonstrated in Concept Tower

Nvs_building

I was pretty impressed by Agustin Otegui’s design for Nano Vent-Skin (NVS), rendered on the building above.  NVS is a building skin that uses organic photovoltaics to capture sun and micro-wind turbines to capture wind.  Otegui envisions nano-manufacturing with bioengineered organisms as the production method for NVS, and because it’s organic, the wall provides the additional benefit of capturing CO2 from the air. 

Obviously, the concept building above would be a new design built to reap the benefits of NVS, but Otegui also thinks the skin would be perfect for making existing buildings greener. 

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Kuwait's First LEED Tower To Be Crowned with Wind

Sabahalahmendifc KEO International Consultants has received word from the USGBC that its design for Sabah Al Ahmed International Finance Center (ICF) has been precertified at the Gold level under the LEED-CS green building rating system.  The 1.2 million sf, 40-story tower is the first building in Kuwait to be registered or precertified by the USGBC.  As you can partially tell from the renderings, the design includes four stacked courtyard atriums ranging from 8-13 floors each.  Three of the atriums serve the office portion of the building, while the fourth atrium serves the 200 key, 4-star business class hotel.  The tower generates part of its energy from a PV system, as well as from roof-mounted wind turbines.  You may be able to see the lattice-work of wind turbines at the crown of the building; I think they’re the vertical axis, helical-type, but it’s hard to tell with this one image.  We’ll make sure to keep you posted …

The use of wind turbines at the building’s apex is similar to what’s planned for Discovery Tower in Houston.  It’ll be interesting to see these designs meet reality — the media world will definitely have fun running video and stories of building integrated wind turbines.

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Selsam Small Turbines – Just Right for Residential?

Selsam

The bloggers at Engadget picked up on the Selsam small wind turbines, which look a lot like one of those amateur ham radio antennas we used to see on houses.  This small-scale wind solution is basically a single elongated shaft made of strong carbon fiber.  The carbon shaft holds rotors that range in size from 14-18 inches in diameter.  Apparently, the more rotors you have on a rod, the better output you get.  Invented by Doug Selsam, this 13-rotor small wind turbine can produce roughly 200 watts in 20 mph winds (or more in higher wind speeds).  It’s currently being tested and developed in California, so who knows, we may just start seeing stuff like this on top of houses and buildings?

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Wind Could Power 20% of US Grid by 2030

Palm Springs Wind Farm

Here’s some interesting news: a new Department of Energy report claims wind turbines could generate 300 gigawatts of electricity — roughly 20% of the US electrical grid — by 2030.  There’s already a website in support of the news at 20%Wind.org.  The report doesn’t necessarily predict the future of the wind industry, but it paints a picture of what a particular 20% wind scenario could mean for the nation.  The wind industry currently produces about 17 gigawatts of electricity, so we’re talking about significant growth over the next twenty-something years.  That said, wind industry growth has been fierce in recent years and is on track to meet these numbers if growth holds pace.

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Bahrain WTC Wind Turbines Actually Work! [S2]

Believed to be the world’s first integrated, wind-powered mega structure, Bahrain WTC looks to be working.  The above video doesn’t really say anything, but it doesn’t need to: those twirling blades say everything that needs to be said.  Read more about Bahrain WTC here

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