Powerhouse Wind director Bill Currie shows off parts of his
Thinair one-bladed windmill which is ready for mass
production. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
A one-bladed wind turbine developed in Dunedin is ready
to go into mass production, if a suitable factory site and
investors can be found.
Designed by Powerhouse Wind, the Thinair is a wind turbine
that has only one blade instead of the traditional three.
So far, 10 Thinair machines had been sold and, of these,
seven are installed at locations around the South Island,
including one which rises proudly above the Otago Polytechnic
Powerhouse Wind director Bill Currie said having the
windmills installed in a wide range of locations had provided
a lot of valuable testing data that had led to improvements
of the Thinair design.
The next stage for the company was to find a factory where 40
machines could be produced and sold.
Mr Currie estimated building 40 machines would take a year
and lead to the company employing six more staff.
However, to fund this about $600,000 would be needed and the
company was seeking investors.
The one-bladed turbine design had several benefits, Mr Currie
When it was shut down it was more compact than a three-bladed
turbine which gave it more protection from high winds.
Using only one blade made the design lighter and cheaper in
materials. And at a smaller scale the one-bladed design was
quieter and had better aerodynamic performance than other
There was also the possibility of packing the machine with
the blade fitted which made installation easier, he said.
The target markets for the Thinair were private properties
both on and off the electricity grid, and remote sites, such
as radio repeater stations.
There were also international opportunities, as many nations
were looking into alternative sustainable energy sources, he
said,Powerhouse Wind began in 2007. For the past 18 months,
the Thinair design has been perfected at the Otago
Polytechnic Innovation Workspace.