With utility companies around the world racing to generate a lot of renewable energy, wind turbines, which are still one of the most favored ways to generate clean energy, are getting bigger and bulkier. While a large wind turbine can definitely generate more energy, the shipping costs associated with them add to the cost of the already expensive clean energy. A Colorado-based startup, Boulder Wind Power, thinks they have created a design that reduces the weight of the generator, while enabling it to generate more energy.
A conventional generator in use today, uses a rotor and a stator made using iron wrapped with copper coils to create the magnetic field to produce mechanical energy. Boulder’s innovation is a different kind of stator that is created by printing copper wires onto fiber glass and laminating the layers of fiber glass to create a stator that looks and works like a printed circuit board. The PCB design reduces weight and hence lowers the cost of wind produced electricity.
The company believes that a 3MW turbine made using the new technology would weigh up to 40 percent less than more common generators designed to produce the same amount of power. Apart from using a PCB design, the team also uses a direct drive permanent magnet, a debatable technology that has been used by companies like Siemens and GE in the past too.
For now the company has already built a 3MW prototype to show how the technology actually works and is close to signing its first deal. The company doesn’t want to invest in building factories to produce turbines, but rather is envisioning a future where they can sell the license to the technology to other interested companies.