MICRO WIND TURBINES: Small Size, Big Impact

by , 03/21/07

November 2006 installation of 40 micro-wind turbines on Homantin street, Hong Kong.  Micro-Wind Turbines, Motorwind, Motorwave, Hong Kong, Wind Power, Clean Energy, Lucien Gambarota

Conventional wind turbine technology has been a bit out of reach for most residential consumers living in urban areas—until now. Researchers at Hong Kong University and Lucien Gambarota of Motorwave Ltd. have developed Motorwind, a micro-wind turbine technology small enough for private use in both rural and urban environments. Unlike large-scale wind turbines, Motorwave’s micro-wind turbines are light, compact (25 cm rotor diameter), and can generate power with wind speeds as low as 2 meters/second.

The gear-like turbines can be linked to fit just about anywhere and a row of eight turbines costs just $150 for now (prices may decrease once the turbines are mass produced). A portion of the revenue raised from the sale of Motorwind turbines (available for purchase here) will be donated to Hong Kong University to continue researching renewable energy technology.

According to tests, turbines arranged within a surface area of one square meter and a wind speed of 5 m/sec generate 131 kWh/yr. We’ll be watching when the Hong Kong Sea School installs 360 micro-turbins (20 square meters) next month. A second installation of another 880 micro-turbines will be realized if the first installation is a success. Plans are also on the way for the World Wildlife Fund’s Hoi Ha Marine Reserve to install micro-turbines some time in the near future.

$150 – Motorwave Mirco Wind Turbines

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  1. @ank December 30, 2014 at 8:06 am

    can i a lift a man with the help of turbine ? if i can??? mail me to how can i do this by small like a shape or A SIZE of hand ,turbine

  2. bayezeed November 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Efficient and low price. Interested to know more.
    Dr. N.A. Bayezeed

  3. imruska February 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

    good ideal.thank you.

  4. vasant December 18, 2013 at 6:14 am

    what is the output in watts & how long does it deliver energy/last for 5 hrs on single day charge?

  5. Audrey Fletcher April 6, 2013 at 5:37 am

    I would like to see more interest in wind for the home.And ones that do not become part of the home so when you move you can take them with you!
    Also small wind power units attached to freeway guard rails, To get the wind made by passing cars!

  6. Orack December 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Who can i get in contact with regarding a new idea involiving Wind turbines that have the potential to change the world?

  7. olehammarlund October 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

    There is no info on volatage or wattage produced, but obviously the micromills would need a converter/controller to hook up to anything useful in the house. This will cost hudreds of dollars. Using the 131kwh/year I get an aprroximate wattage of 15 watts for the 8 mills. Not a lot! A Canadian Tire windturbine produce 200 watts at 12/24 volts for $1500, so the cost per watt is actually lees than a micro turbine

  8. sumeet August 6, 2011 at 11:15 am

    131kwh/yr with 8 turbines. That means 161KJ in a day with one turbine. A normal mobile charger req 5J/s approx. That means 8.9 hours of charging. Is it possible to reduce it to some portable device which people can carry and charge their mobiles in remote places or during travelling??

  9. Steven Coussement April 6, 2011 at 3:07 am

    Love the flexibility to scale up and down. It can fit anywhere.
    Keep up the good work!

  10. ricky manuel September 24, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    i am really interested in these micro turbines and would love to have them installed on my commercial building in orange texas i really belive they can be used residentialy as well and would be interested in selling them inthe future

  11. pretorjp June 8, 2010 at 9:59 am


    I would like to now in what Voltages and wattages does the wind turbines is coming like 12V, 24V and / or 48V and how many will it take to power a 3 Bedroom house that uses about 900KW/month

    I also want to know where in South Africa I can get them if they are available in South Africa

    Koos Pretorius
    South Africa

  12. Devina June 8, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Please kindly give me more details of wind turbine like its installation & commissioning cost ,technical specification etc

  13. alexantonioli December 9, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I am seeking a good solution for powering a temporary site cabin.
    This may eventually work and would like to know if they are already available for purchasing.
    Also would appreciate to know the cost and the capacity needed for all the auxiliary components.

    Alessandro Antonioli


  14. doulosrumble June 4, 2009 at 11:22 am

    will this be able to help families in rural africa with thier energy needs and help the enviroment.

  15. TurbineGuy October 21, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    These things are ingenious! Wish I had thought of that. I actually built my own turbine out of PVC and some other parts (http://www.mywindpowerhome.com), but I think I may just try to put a system like this in place if I ever move to the City.

  16. Kimberly September 25, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Very cool. I saw a video of this on http://www.greenenergytv.com and loved it. Eventually, those little things will become more powerful and produce more energy. Look how fast cell phones and others things have improved in a short time.


  17. RogerW August 31, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Great looking idea! One suggestion: set a unit up vertically with a vane in a simple plywood frame or some such and picture that as your demo. Many of your responders seem to not see with that configuration it can follow the wind direction change. Of course, that increases the complication factor again! Ultraviolet resistant plastic is available. Make that known. Set a row of these along roof ridges and columns at each house corner and see the increased draft, too. I suppose many will scream \”too ugly!\” but so is smoke and strip mines and radioactivity.

  18. umurali2000 August 8, 2008 at 1:02 am

    Very nice and useful article

  19. maria castrillo July 20, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    How much does it cost to make your wind tubines? Is it made out of eco friendly plastic? I would love to know because i want to purchase some of your wind tubines. I need to know if they are efficiant and good for powering a company.
    Thank you
    Maria Castrillo

  20. Shawn Murtaza July 20, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    I meant each hour, how much would it make per hour at 55 mph

  21. Shawn Murtaza July 20, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    how many kilowatts would one of these turbines make at 55 miles per hour?

  22. papaklenk July 16, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I need information on more than one turbine, up to 10kw.
    Thank you

  23. Shawn Murtaza July 14, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    What is the highest speed that these turbines can create energy at?

    How much energy would they make at this speed? (Per Hour Is Easier For Me )

  24. Dee Fault July 2, 2008 at 3:00 am

    I think your idea is fantistic, for areas with low wind speed and small land size, affordable add-on wind fans in phases idea, colored in white or black or bright multicolors for in the garden, I think there is potential; except I would be concerned that the plastic might shatter after 2 years of being in the sun. I plan to watch your progress, and consider a possible purchase in the future. (Calif. USA)

  25. buildingturbines June 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    These turbines together also. Company is based in Austin Texas. The past three years of development has been out of pocket..searching for capital to continue R&D and get into production by the end of the year.
    any thoughts suggestions on http://buildingturbines.com ? Thanks for taking the time to let the site load (it\’s 20 mb) Ideas as to where to go for funding??

    Thanks for all of your help in advance, fair winds,



  26. buildingturbines April 22, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    This is a great Idea. The Company I work for, Building Turbines, is making wind turbines for buildings as well. They cog together also, allowing all turbines to share one gearbox and one generator. We moved our third prototype from our wind tunnel to the Roof of our 5 story building, works and looks great just as it did day 1. Thus far all funding has come out of the pockets of the inventor, John F. Graham. There aren’t existing products on the market for this type of technology. We need to engineer, and manufacture our own gearbox and generator specific to our application. So, we are now looking to get outside funding to continue R&D to get patent protected turbines into production asap. Up to date info can be seen at our site http://buildingturbines.com and at our main site: http://austinpartners.net http://www.AustinPartners.net is a portal of Mr. Graham’s many companies.

  27. ttarakia April 16, 2008 at 8:31 am

    To Whom it may concern, esp. staff concerned:

    This is a great discovery of the century, as far as wind power and renewable energy field is concerned. I can\’t
    believe it! The revolutionary design and other features of the micro wind-turbine is amazing but truly
    It so happens that I took a walk this afternoon and met one Hongkong lady. We had a good chat and that\’s how she first introduced me to these Hongkong \’windfans\’. In fact, she informed about them after I showed that I am studying Renewable Energy. Immediately after I checked for it at google search and there,
    at last!
    I am so interested to know more about this product. Now, I will decide to include it as part of my study, especially will intend to implement it as part of my hybrid energy system project. So what is the life time of the systems? Can it be integrated with other renewable sources to produce a hybrid system?
    Best regards,
    Tiante Western Australia

  28. Debra Zager March 10, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Dear Micro Wind Turbines…..I am very interested in this idea. I live in Kona, Hawaii on the leeward side of the Big Island. We seldom get 8 mph wind but every day and night we have 4 mph wind and during storms we have consistent wind and no sun. How do I purchase your micro wind turnbines and do they need to be hooked to a battery as the PV cells are? My cell number is 808-640-2235 and I only speak English fluently. I mutter a bit of French and a bit more of Hawaiian……Mahalo Nui Loa…..Debra Zager

  29. johnny tan March 8, 2008 at 7:44 am

    horizontal turbine needs wind seeking divice
    i don’t see it in the picture.

    please reply

  30. interested February 27, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    how many would it take to power a house that uses about1,200 kwh a month ? And what is the noise of the system?

  31. Peter Wood February 18, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Looks quite scalable

  32. saib February 4, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I m very much interestedin buying thesesmall turbines..butfirst tell me tht can i use them individualy..means ifi m placing it on roof top at different position each turbine..will it work?wht is the life and ill t be affected by soler rays?wht max output a ssingle turbine wil give and at wht speed and wht is the max wind speed it can sustain?will it sustain more than 80 or 100Km/h wind speeds?plz tell me all technical specification and from where n how i can get them.

    contact on my email ASAP

  33. Cal Jennings January 13, 2008 at 2:12 am

    How much does the battery pack and converter cost? What do you use as a generator or alternator?

    Love, Hope, Peace, & Christ Be With You,


  34. Piperich December 28, 2007 at 11:12 am

    To Gambarota – Forgive me, I have been researching ‘small wind’ for a couple of months. Systems which promise significant output with minimum investment have, to date, been somewhat less than successful and/or outright frauds. I do NOT accuse you of such. However I would like to know if their are any wind speed / power curves available for your unit. Such a curve for a single generator and, say, an 8 unit array would go a long way to answering some of the questions above. Does such a curve exist and is it readily viewable? Congratulations on the good review, on AP / Yahoo! News, for the Sea School installation.

  35. Concerned December 28, 2007 at 4:25 am

    This set up is for LOW COST applications while incorporating gears and chains could alter the ouput the effect on cost/output would be grossly altered. Also the interlocking gears are a nice simple solution for harmonic dampenig (I beleive that is what allows for 80m/s operation). Althought everyone seems the critic , only the people willing to take the chances to improve the world might just succeed in saving it. Kudos!!Imagine future cells of medium sized turbines made from carbon fiber on margneticly suspended bearings completely powering a small farm or community.

  36. Soylent December 27, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    (erata to the post above, it should say drives the generator, not drives the turbine in the last sentence or it wouldn’t make any sense)

  37. Soylent December 27, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    j what you are describing is the case for chain drive and belt drive if each turbine/gear recieves as much torque from wind(which is approximately true) but not here. The torque from wind on each individual turbine/gear needs to add up to drive the generator or you would not get power from more than one turbine/gear.

    If you still don’t get why they can’t spin freely, consider the reverse situation(using an electric engine to drive a bunch of gears, each with its own fan), the torque diagram would be the same(but opposite in direction on each cog).

    With belt drive or chain drive each gear would apply torque to a belt or chain which would apply it’s torque to the generator; this way you only get loses at two interfaces instead of cumulatively at each gear/gear interface. Assuming a well designed chain drive or belt drive could be made cheaply enough and durably enough it would scale better as more gears are added.

    Hybrid approaches might also be considered. Maybe it’s too expensive to have chain drive on all gears and it might not hurt efficiency that much if there are only a few interlinking gears. If you were to wire up an array of 70 gears to a single generator the best approach might be to connect gears into 10 horisontal groups of 7 interlinking gears and to connect a column of gears to a chain drive that drives the turbine.(this little array would make a nice stand-a-lone 7×10 unit that can be used for one character or symbol with coloured gears).

  38. j December 27, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Frictional losses from the gears on these micro-turbines meshing and clashing would seem to be very minamal due to the fact that all the turbines are receiving power input from essentially the same wind at the same time.

  39. gambarota December 8, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    to Brian

    re:your answer to Patricia.
    the difficulty for a turbine to have a low starting speed and be abble to absorb high wind energy
    is depending on two factors.
    A) the mass of the rotating object and B) the RPM.
    as you can understand the lighter an object is, the faster it can spin .the faster it can spin the less resistance it will oppose the the wind so that is why our turbines went through 2 typhoons(number 8 = hurricane number 4)
    without any problems.This is a major instruction that we give to our customers: never stop the turbines spinning

    the abbility to take high wind speed is a major factor in manufacturing cost.
    a popular wind generator like Windsave has to be stopped above 15ms and therefore a system has to be included to stop the spinning.such system is very expensive to manufacture.

    I believe that we have in fact resolved most of the problem that wind generator were facing and that we have the key solution in bringing down manufacturing cost.



  40. gambarota December 8, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Hi Logan
    If i can help :
    it takes 20 turbines/square meter
    a single turbine will generate approx 6.5 kWh/year for 5ms
    18 kWh/year for 7ms
    54 kWh/year for 10ms.
    94 kWh/year for 12ms
    184 kWh/year for 15ms
    these are real data measured in wind tunnel.



  41. Logan November 27, 2007 at 11:45 am

    It seems some people have conflicting figures.

    According to the article, 8 turbines cost $150. Although it goes on to give an example with 1 sq.m. of turbines, the information about the HKSS installation reveals that it would take 18 turbines to cover that area.
    So 18 turbines @ 5m/s wind make 131kWh per year. That’s 7.3kWh per year, per turbine. (About 70c payback each.)

    Tylene gives figures which work out to each turbine giving 10.5-17.5 kWh per year, per turbine, at 5-6m/s, and a remarkable 60-101 kWh per year, per turbine at 10m/s. ($1-1.70, and $6-10.)

    Gambarota offers figures which work out to each turbine giving 54 kWh per year, per turbine, at 10m/s. ($5.30.)

    I can’t work out the payback time until these figures are clear. Who has the right information?

  42. Kevin October 16, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Where can I purchase these wind turbines?

  43. Brian H October 16, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    the wheels counter-rotate, and I’d think the linking is intended to provide a degree of smoothness to the response of an array. But there are frictional losses with every contact, and each rotor has an axle and some kind of bearing arrangement. If one seizes, I’d expect the whole rig to freeze or tear itself apart.

    I also think that the low-velocity figures disguise a weakness: in a high wind or even a gust, I think the array would probably shatter.

  44. dare oshinuga September 24, 2007 at 7:42 am

    could these mini-wind turbines generate enough power to power scooters consistently for a day with wind speeds of 60m/s?

  45. Duncan Foster August 14, 2007 at 1:43 am

    I also wonder about durability of the rotor superstructure (ozone cracking, thermal effects due to freeze/thaw or uneven sunlighting across the array,) bearing life, and how to avoid icing. If the rotors could be made from recycled feedstocks (plastic milk containers?) that would knock the price down further… Also some/all cost figures were in HK$… It would be less confusing if all figures were in US$. I am intrigued…

  46. PATRICIA HISER May 28, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    I believe that the formation of the blades are critical for maximum rotation and use of wind – I would have the blades more along the lines of the small hand-held children’s whirlygig – where the blade closest to the center is almost folded in half – it captures even the slightest wind and gives the blades maximum velocity. I would also do away with the gear-like teeth, and have the ends of the blades fit into the circular disk by a reinforced outer edge of the blade to withstand the centifugal force – less frictional pull on the blades than the gears, or have the blades free spinning for maximum rotation speed.

  47. John Longmire May 25, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Could these be designed to connect/hang below attic venilators using the hot air rising out of a home’s attic ? This type of attic cooling is common in the southern states of the USA. DC would be better with batteries and a rectifier bridged to the home AC input.
    Perhaps a small torpedo type turbine would be of better use and easier to ‘hang’ below the wind vane.

    Thanks for the efforts.

  48. Tamas Veghely May 22, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    we would like to buy
    pls conatct me.

  49. kilo watt May 9, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Why not DC no need for transmission.AC is not the way to go if you ask me.smaller generaters than the ones on this web site and more of them.

  50. Ian Williamson May 9, 2007 at 3:03 am

    Hi Lucien, this is innovative and thought provoking. Anything that allows extra power generation is a step forward toward helping planet earth last a little longer. Sure, this system has limitations and drawbacks, but I like it for its simplicity and potential low cost. Just a thought…could 3 or 4 turbines be stacked on a vertical shaft that was free to rotate to face the wind? Where I live (Auckland New Zealand) the wind often changes direction many times a day. Or how about a Savonius-style vertical stack of turbines, that click together instead of being linked at the gear face? Your idea of individual moulded plastic components is a fantastic step forward. Good on you for getting a new idea to market. I wish you every success!

  51. Realist May 2, 2007 at 5:15 am

    In about one or two years, they sun will turn that plastic into brittle little pieces of garbage.
    The cost of these things does not include a power inverter, a rectifier to turn it into usable power, nor do these things make any usable power. You would need a hundred of them. to make enough power to add back into the grid. That’s a lot of wasted oil to toss back into the landfill in a year or two, plus the nasty bad CO2 (which is NOT a pollutant) put into the air to make them in the first place would never be offset by creating any useable power, saving power made by gas generator stations. Like all the electric gagetry being made in the name of “green” these days, all they do is draw more power from the grid, making a need for more oil fired generating stations.
    Same goes for so called Hybrid cars. They create twice as much pollution in their manufacture than they save.

  52. Steve Mizera April 19, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Would they work on my RV?

  53. Wiz Theman April 18, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    This might keep the pesky squirrels off the roof ! Unfortunately the little birdies feet will also suffer !
    This thing might work a little better if enlarged about 75% and use an enclosed gear housing.

  54. Melissa Moreno April 17, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Great concept. It is good to see people thinking about different design concepts. The current large wind towers are great but too expensive. We need to continue to push for new radical designs to progress this resource for our residential use. Self sufficiency and accountabiliy is the best way to approach the future. A future that includes affordable energy for even the poorest of our communites.

  55. R.R. Zesiger April 17, 2007 at 7:18 am

    No discussion.
    Where do I buy the components and
    how do I install them?

    R.R. Zesiger

  56. gambarota April 16, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Peter .
    the cost to do that will not match the efficiency improvement and will lead to a lot of problems .
    the system will oppose much more resistance and the frame will have to be stronger and thus more expensive .
    if you want to fight fossil fuels ,you got to be cheaper than them ,subsidies are not an option .

  57. gambarota April 16, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    HI Mark
    i think that you missed some .
    wind blows from North to South in Winter and South to North in Summer.
    our turbines work from both side (front an back) with about 90 degrees angle from both side.
    we collect about 90% of wind energy .
    the cost to collect the extra 10 % is too high .
    you can always design a perfect system that nobody use because it is too expensive .
    Lucien Gambarota

  58. Peter April 16, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Hi there, saw a report on the news about the system and am very interested in it as a good start point for a project. Just wondering how expensive it would be to hook in into a 240v system (to push power back into the grid/ spin back the power meter).

    The points made about the durability of the plastic are of interest. Also, I was wondering if there was any simple fibreglass or light weight moulded plastic that could be mounted between the fans to help direct air through the fans rather than in-between them?

  59. marc April 11, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    the problem with this concept is that the group of windmills can not change direction. with this current set up it can only take advatage of about 90 degrees of the 360 degrees that the wind blows. To correct this a person can place it on a platform but that would increase the cost of the entire set up. Instead a person could just buy a small 400w wind turbine and place it on a pole and create way more power at less cost.

  60. Adrian April 10, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Are the windmills made of solar-resistant plastic? I am interested in the idea, and considering that my energy efficient house uses about 140 watts with every single thing running, these might satisfy that need, but if they become brittle in 6 months, then replacing them becomes a significant expense.

  61. Norman Klien April 8, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    In wonder what this configuration coudl do if hooked up to a small size solar tower systems? Such a system creates its own wind.

    Normally, this works in only very large installations because of the size of current wind turbine technology. But these ligth weight small system might allow solar towers to be built on a much smaller scale.

    I think I’ll buy some and see what could be done a a typical flat roof industrial complex building.


  62. Colin April 5, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    You’d probably have to an inverter to use the power in your home, which would dwarf the cost of the ‘turbines’ themselves. It might take quite some time for these to pay themselves off. I’m also very concerned about the potential noise for this arrangement.

  63. cally April 4, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Seems to me like it’d be great for boosting one of those low power heaters they have in garden greenhouses that stop them from freezing, so you can extend the growing season on home produce.

  64. HelixWindPower April 3, 2007 at 11:41 am

    looks like a great innovation to add to the growing surge in technological investment in this area, and having another tool in the arsenal to fight Big Oil never hurts. My question is how it adapts to rapidly changing wind speeds (does it cavitate like a propellor?) and can it adjust to changing wind directions? How is the gearing affected by salt in the air for maritime environments? How does the plastic hold up in long term sun exposure?

  65. royalestel April 2, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Holy heck, this a great jump in cost/output efficiency! And it operates at 4mph? That’s low! You could also actually afford to buy one a month from ebay and slowly increase your wind energy production.

    I am excited about this! This might actually work.

  66. gambarota March 29, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    i would like to thank you for your encouraging comments .
    please consider this .
    one kg of oil can generate about 4.6 kWH in electricity when burned .
    it takes 1 kg of oil to produce 300 grs of plastic = 1 turbine .
    how long will it take for one turbine to generate 4.5 kWh for 10m/s wind speed ?????.
    answer: just one month
    a turbine can be recycled for hundred of years .
    have a good day
    Lucien Gambarota

  67. menard March 29, 2007 at 4:02 am

    131kWh/sqm.yr looks a bit optimistic for 5m/s…
    But very nice idea !

  68. Nick Simpson March 25, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    I agree, the efficiencies and costs need to improve, but to put things into perspective you’ve got a 7 and a half year payback period even in the worst case scenario. Compared to a lot of means of producing sustainable electricity that’s not bad, even if it didn’t improve…

  69. Ramsey March 23, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    I said that I think there is a better solution, not that I have any idea what it is.

    But, bearings can last for a long time in a low load situation, and the price will plummet if this thing ever gains economies of scale.

    With the minimal amount of cost and development involved, I think this is a fantastic idea and I hope the inventor makes a mint, I still think that there is some power lost in the gear interfaces. A pulley system or chain drive would likely have lower frictional losses.

  70. EDD March 23, 2007 at 5:22 am

    An excellent new novel idea. I agree that one major issue is for everyone to reduce their power consumption then ideas like this can have a huge impact. It’s different to other products on the market and affordable for many applications. Nice one.

  71. Fuzz March 22, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    The Key point of this is that it allows for electricity production where it was not possible before, it is conceivably possible to use this technology in every single building in the world, no matter the climate. In that sense, on a mass scale the amount of power produced per turbine doesn’t really matter.

    The one thing that worries me the most is the wear and tear on the bearings, those will probably start hurting efficiency after a short while.

    I don’t understand the price though, it looks to me like the turbines are one piece of plastic which I woudn’t be surprised to see at a dollar store. I wonder what there makes the cost ~$15 each?

  72. anna March 22, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    sure, it doesn’t provide a huge amount of electricity per m2, but they’re a whole lot cheaper than solar panels!

    i think what actually underscores all of the objections here regarding the fact that these microturbines don’t produce enough electricity to power a home is the fact that we use far too much energy.

    the first and possibly most effective step in terms of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, methane, NOx) is to simply reduce the amount of energy we use. in terms of a family home, this is relatively simple (use a microwave oven, don’t use a clothes dryer, open windows to let in natural light and ventilation, install insulation, use low wattage globes, turn off appliances on ‘standby’, put on an extra layer if you’re cold etc, etc.). but there are other more major things that can be done like installing solar hot water (cheap and simple) so that you reduce your electricity demand in the first place. then things like these microturbines will become far more effective.

  73. Doug March 22, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Waiting with bated breath for Ramseys’ more elegant solution!!

    How long do we have to wait??

  74. Ramsey March 22, 2007 at 11:38 am

    This is a neat idea, and it looks cool, but every time you transfer power through a geared interface you lose power to friction, up to several percent per gear interface, I can’t help but think that there is a more elegant solution

  75. Greg March 22, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Very interesting. I currently generate all my power needs from almost 1KW of solar panels. However to supplement the periods of bad weather, with low sunlight, this could be a very interesting addition.

  76. Tylene March 21, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    131 kwh/year was the minimum amount assuming 8 turbines ran at 5 m/sec wind speed. As will be seen in the Sea School and WWF projects in Hong Kong, hundreds if not thousands of these micro-turbines can be connected to maximize production.

    For example, a typical case in HK would be the following:

    A 3 floor 700 square foot house in New Territories has a monthly electricity bill in winter of 1000 HK$ (US$ 128).

    Daily consumption is about 30 kWh .

    The roof top has 3 to 5 square meters (32 to 53 sq ft) worth of Micro Turbines installed.

    For winds of 5-6 m/s (11 mph) the daily production is : 2.6 kWh .

    For winds of 10 m/s (22 mph) the daily production is : 15 kWh

    The Mircro Turbines can cover 8% to 50 % of the electricity bill and most importantly, over a 10 year period, it will save approximately 36 tons of CO2 from being released into the environment.

  77. Stilgar March 21, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    I have to agree, this is way too little power to be of any use, at these prices solar becomes a better option, but they do look really neat. Might be a nice art installation that also makes power.

  78. Michael March 21, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    That’s not the minimum, just an example.

    131 is a great start for a new twist on wind power. Great idea!

  79. too small March 21, 2007 at 11:48 am

    just for playing is ok, but power is not enough for a home. 131 kW a year? For a rural the poorest house is ok. for a green building now, no ok.

  80. Ulrike March 21, 2007 at 11:20 am

    131 kWh/yr is less than $20 of electricity per year (US rates). If that’s the minimum of predicted production, what’s the average or maximum?

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