Totempower to commercialise small-scale wind turbines

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City University London has taken an equity stake in clean-tech start-up, Totempower Energy Systems, to help commercialise its wind turbines for the micro-generation market.

The company plans to enter the market in 2012 and is hoping to secure funding to develop its two wind turbine models – a 2,000kWh pa version for households and a 15,000kWh pa version for commercial use.

‘Our goal is to really consumerise wind power,’ said company founder Wolf Dietrich. ‘We see a big opportunity for small wind to make a contribution to our energy generation as part of a larger solution.’

Totempower’s technology is based on a patented system known as the Passive Air-jet Vortex Generator (PAVOG) developed by Dr Simon Prince, a senior lecturer in aeronautical engineering at City University.

‘PAVOG is basically a series of small ducts that go through the turbine blade and improve the airflow on the topside,’ explained Dietrich. ‘The ducts delay the turbine stall so that it operates efficiently over a wider range of wind speeds.’

A domestic system is expected to be priced at £4,500, and under the current feed-in tariff will provide a financial benefit of £850 annually. Dietrich estimates that there will be an average return on investment of around six years for individual households and three years for communities.

‘Personally I would estimate that solar and wind on a small scale could have the potential of generating some 10 per cent of our complete energy demand,’ said Dietrich. ‘What we have to do now is get the technology out there.’

The development of Totempower has been supported by the university’s technology transfer team, the City Research and Enterprise Unit, as well as the London City Incubator.