October 25th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. ###
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The Wedge Wind Technologies Turbine – such a “drag”
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
When it comes to harvesting wind energy, the three-blade wind turbine functioning on “lift” aerodynamics has the monopoly in Canada, but a new wind turbine prototype disregards all that and hopes to change the game by being all-drag.

The horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) turbines, the most common in Canada, have a three-bladed propeller rotating around a horizontal axis. The bottom of the blade is flat and the top is curved, causing the air to flow in at a higher speed overtop than underneath, creating a system of low pressure on one side of the blade and high pressure on the other. The bottom is pushing and the top is pulling, recovering energy from the wind through lift aerodynamics, the same principle used by airplanes.

Garry Emshey, founder of Wedge Technologies, has had the idea of a towerless multi-blade drag-powered horizontal wind turbine brewing for about five years, ever since he learned about the many disadvantages of HAWT turbines.

“We couldn’t figure out why you couldn’t put a wind turbine on a building. We dug a bit and found the limitations of a three-blade wind turbine and decided that a drag type would fill those gaps. The answer was not to use a lift type of wind generation,” says Emshey, who adds that urban environments cause too much turbulence for the effective functioning of three-blade turbines, and there is also a liability risk.
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While HAWT turbines do perform quite well in terms of energy output, they don’t function well in urban environments. They can only operate in certain wind environments, as strong winds and too much turbulence decreases their efficiency and puts a lot of wear and tear on the machines. Other problems with horizontal-axis turbines are that maintenance is difficult, they tend to have a high failure rate, and they require a large footprint to accommodate the rotation space of their blades.

Wind turbines employing the drag aerodynamics principle are more popular in Europe than in Canada, the most common being the Finnish Savonius design but even they have several major drawbacks. What differentiates the Savonius turbines from HAWT is that they operate as a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT), meaning that their blades, usually two to three called scoops, are positioned vertically.

Emshey’s patented Wedge Wind Turbine is unique in that the blades are positioned horizontally in a HAWT system and is designed to overcome the shortcomings of the other wind energy systems on the market.

“All you need is air flowing over them. As long as the wind can contact the blade, it will turn,” says Emshey.

Enclosed in a galvanized steel culvert, dozens of customizable blades catch on the wind and rotate, converting the wind energy into usable energy. A controllable shroud regulates output and can control how much power is generated. They are low-cost to maintain, parts are easy to replace and the design is easy to transport, disguise on buildings and able to withstand extreme sun, cold, and any wind condition. A remote will calculate the angle of the wind and adjust for optimal efficiency, or a tail-boom can be attached where aesthetics aren’t a concern to save money.
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Any excess power can be sold back to the grid, another difference from the HAWT turbines, which slow down once they begin to make too much power. Factors like how much power is accumulated and when the turbine’s shroud should remain open could comfortably be controlled by the user from a computer device linked to the turbine on the rooftop.

Emshey’s turbines can, in theory, operate as standalone machines on the ground, but their optimal use is for buildings, ideally for new constructions that would account for the turbine in the building phase. For existing buildings that would want to use the technology, the roof would need to be retrofitted to accommodate the turbine.

The turbines are intended for rooftop wind power generation for light industrial and domestic use. Domestic turbines would generate approximately 1 kilowatt of wind energy, while the light industrial would make 5 kilowatts.

That may not seem like a large output, but Emshey says that several turbines can be installed for greater energy generation. On top of that, these turbines are fully compatible with solar technology and could use much of the same electronics.

The first prototype was built at the Medicine Hat College in 2013 and a few years later, a second prototype, now with 60 blades and a big 3-kilowatt DC generator, was tested as a proof of concept.
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As a result of that, improvement techniques and quality controls were applied and used to design the $20,000 functioning tabletop demonstration model that Emshey now has and with that, the prototype is ready to scale up to a commercial model.

The only piece of the puzzle missing is an investor who is willing to devote half a million dollars to build the very first commercial model.

“We will give them a piece of the company in return to fund the commercial model. We will partner up with them and they will get to buy into our company and reap the downstream rewards, both technical and monetary,” says Emshey, who adds that he has received significant interest from angel investors and local companies, but they all request to see a successful commercial model before getting involved in the project.

Emshey is looking for a mechanical manufacturer that can design and build a full commercial-scale Wedge Wind Turbine.

Should the project take off, Emshey sees the Wedge Wind Turbine discreetly adorning the roofs of commercial buildings, hotels, shopping malls, government buildings, ski resorts, domestic housing, even being suitable for motorhomes that harvest wind energy while driving.

“It’s going to fill the gap of the domestic three-blade, which people don’t buy anymore because they don’t have enough wind for them, or they don’t know how to use them,” says Emshey. “It’s also to fill the gap where three blades aren’t suitable.”

For more information on the Wedge Wind Turbine, visit the company’s website at http://wedge-technologies.com.
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October 25th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. ###
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