A new type of wind turbine being developed at West Virginia University (WVU) will be manufactured and produced by Fisher Energy LLC, a Michigan-based firm with roots in the automobile industry.
WVU, Advanced Technology Applications and GT Technology have signed an agreement with Fisher Energy to manufacture and market the technology throughout the U.S.
James E. Smith, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is the lead WVU researcher on the project, which began in 2007.
Smith and fellow researchers have developed and patented a new method for augmenting the flow of air over the blades of the wind turbine. The new technology increases performance in varying wind speeds and directions, while creating much less environmental impact on wildlife and people, according to the developers.
Smith says the vertical-axis wind turbine will also be easier to adjust to accommodate changes in wind direction, unlike a horizontal-axis wind turbine, which requires adjusting the entire assembly when the wind changes direction.
‘Initial studies indicate this new turbine technology will require less wind power, making vertical-axis wind turbines potentially more efficient and less costly to operate,’ says Smith. ‘They will also operate over a greater range of wind speeds and produce more electricity than traditional turbines.’
SOURCE: West Virginia University