Electricity generation and system testing has now begun on what is claimed to be the first production-scale Compact Wind Acceleration Turbine (CWAT), which has been erected at a dairy farm in Torrington, Connecticut.
The new turbine design has been developed by Connecticut-based Optiwind for commercial-sized power users such as schools and factories wishing to generate and consume their own power, and the Klug Farm will be entirely powered by the Optiwind’s turbine once it becomes fully operational.
Conventional three-bladed turbines are designed for wind farms that typically have both very high wind speeds and low population density. Schools and businesses, however, are generally located in low-wind-speed, more populated locations.
So Optiwind’s engineers designed the new turbine from scratch. Using a self-erecting tower with a rotating cylinder around it, wind is accelerated around the cylinder and forced though a series of smaller fans mounted on each side of the structure. Using multiple permanent-magnet, direct-drive generators, each powered by a five-bladed fixed pitch fan, Optiwind’s completed turbines will be rated at up to 300kW.
’The advantages of this design over more conventional models are significant,’ said Russ Marvin, Optiwind’s chief executive officer and principal inventor of the new technology. ’CWATs can be installed for up to 30 per cent less than conventional turbines in this size class.’
The Optiwind CWAT is partially funded by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund’s Operational Demonstration Program, with key technology development funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.