Iceland already runs on 100 percent renewable energy. Most of it comes from geothermal sources, but researchers have been working on ways to harness the incredibly powerful winds in the region as well. Traditional wind turbines would spin out of control in the high winds common to the small country, but one bright inventor realized that an entirely different type of wind turbine could withstand the winds. In fact, IceWind’s CW1000 wind turbine may be even better than its skinny counterparts.

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Iceland does already generate some electricity from wind. It started harnessing wind energy in 2013 and researchers continue efforts to evaluate the energy potential in the country of just 329,000 residents. However, traditional wind turbines just don’t fare very well when the winds really pick up, which can be up to 40 miles per hour on an average day. In stormy weather, wind speeds average 112mph.

Related: Iceland’s gorgeous Passive Solar Hof House

The only way to address this problem was to create a different kind of wind turbine, so that’s what inventor Saethor Asgeirsson did. Rather than being long and thin with blades fanning out, his CW1000 turbine stands vertically on a wide base and features curved blades. The unique blade shape allows the turbine to catch the wind in such a way that it can’t possibly spin too fast, which is the main problem with the traditional design. The CW1000 can thus endure Iceland’s consistently high wind speeds.

Although Iceland is already getting all of its energy from other renewable sources, efficient wind power systems still have a market there, especially for individual homeowners. The IceWind CW1000 is designed for residential use, and the company plans to start selling the turbines within the next few months. Asgeirsson recognizes the opportunity to harness the energy in the winds of his homeland, but also plans to sell the technology internationally as early as Summer 2016. The company recently signed with an American investor and is currently looking for distributors to bring their product to North America and Europe.


Images via IceWind