One-blade turbine ready for market

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.
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 A Block.

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 said.

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 designs.

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.

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