Posts Tagged ‘wind turbines’

Urban Green Energy Provides Effective, Durable, Small Wind Vertical Turbines

November 4th, 2011

Eddy GT Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

I had a chance to speak with Nick Blitterswyk about his company, Urban Green Energy. Although he’s based out of New York City, he has a Canadian west coast pedigree. He grew up on Vancouver Island where his parents were caretakers of a provincial park. So, as the cliche goes, you can take the boy out of the natural wildlife setting, but you can’t take the natural wildlife setting out of the boy….or something to that effect. Nick moved to New York and became an actuary, but he heard the wind turbines calling and left the insurance business to turn his attention to developing small wind renewable energy systems.

All of the wind turbines at Urban Green Energy turn on a vertical axis as opposed to a horizontal one. They are designed to capture wind shifts and turbulence which are common traits of wind patterns in cities. One of the main problems with urban wind patterns is that the wind patterns are inconsistent, dominated by gusts, shifts, swirls and other unpredictable patterns. It makes traditionally designed horizontal-axis wind turbines ineffective at capturing all the wind energy available. However, one of the other issues with vertical wind turbines is that the bearings wear quickly. According to UGE’s website, this problem is addressed through the design of the “dual axis technology” which provides a more durable turbine that is quiet with no vibration.


UGE-4K on roof top in Illinois

The Eddy is the first product Urban Green Energy introduced to the market. It is installed on rooftops in urban areas around the world. It is the smallest wind turbine UGE makes. Blades are made from carbon fiber and fiberglass, and spin on a vertical axis. At full speed, the wind turbine will output 6oo Watts of power, and can generate up to 945 kWh annually. This is a stand alone unit. ie., non-grid tie-in. It hits its maximum generating speed at 12 m/s or 26 mph.

Eddy GT: Grid compatible, generates 1000 Watts of power at optimal wind speed of 12 m/s. Blades are made of carbon fiber and fiberglass. At an average speed of 5.5 m/s, average annual energy output is about 1750 kWh/yr.

Eddy VisionAIR5: This is the largest turbine in the UGE family. It generates up to 4000 Watts, and 6000 kWh/yr of electricity based on a 5.5 m/s average annual wind speed.


Amisan Observatory Korea Sanya hybrid wind/solar street lamps

The Sanya, a hybrid solar/wind LED street lamp. This is a stand alone street lamp that uses a 77W LED single bulb. Electricity is generated from a 150W solar panel and the Eddy 400 Watt wind turbine.  The incorporated battery pack can store enough energy to power the 77W LED street lamp for either 5 or 7 days depending on the battery.


Sanya Skypump: Perhaps one of the niftyest new products UGE has developed is the Skypump. This is a joint project where UGE’s Eddy4K is used in conjunction with GE’s WattStation to provide a charging station for electric cars. One of the criticisms of electric cars has always been that it’s not really “green” if the main source of electricity that’s supplied from the grid is coal, natural gas or nuclear-generated. This device makes that argument obsolete. As more electric cars are brought to market an independent system like this can help offset some  the electric grid issues which governments are now considering.



Sanya Skypump computer rendering

Distribution: UGE has distributors throughout North America and the world. The cost of the Eddy starts at around US$4000 not including installation and electric hookup. Most distributors will offer consumers the full installation package, be sure to check with your distributor about what your final price includes.

Nick also told me that Nova Scotia has just launched its FIT (Feed in Tariff) program, so it’s a reminder that it’s important to check with your local government to see what kind of renewable energy benefits are available in your province or state. For information on where your province is at in terms of FIT legislation, check out this page on the Alliance for Renewable Energy website.

To find a UGE distributor near you, click here. For more information on Urban Green Energy, visit their website.






Green Building News (and other Eco information) from around the Web

April 3rd, 2011

I read a lot; It’s the only way to stay somewhat current on what’s happening in the world of green building, and the environment. Below is a list of my favourite articles from this past week. Paula Melton talks about the darker side of building large wind farms. In Vermont there is a proposal for 21 wind turbines to be installed along the pristine Long Trail, a hiking trail that eventually feeds into the Appalacian Trail. The Green Mountain Club is a group of volunteers that helps maintain the trail and make sure trail signs are clear. Now they’re working with the Wind Turbine company to ensure they do as little environmental damage as possible — which, it turns out can be fairly significant when you’re installing 21 wind turbines. Over at Inhabitat, Lori Zimmer talks about the development of a new type of solar energy system that Dr. David Nocera of MIT has just developed. The size of a playing card, it can produce enough energy to power a single house for a continuous 45 hours. This little gem is apparently now ready for mass commercial production and could be a huge boon for homes in third world countries with no access to power.

Over at Building Green again, Brent Erlich highlights some of the latest green building products for your new kitchen including cork flooring, super-efficient appliances from Bosch, and the latest “hot” gadget in the world of water efficiency, the foot pedal for your kitchen faucet. Great tip, faucet aerators in the kitchen aren’t so great if you have to wait five minutes for a stock pot to fill. (Update: article no longer available on the web. August 23, 2012). Ecofabulous founder, Zem Joaquin, has an interview with Inhabitat columnist, Jill Fehrenbacher about the little things you can do around your home to make it greener. Not only are her tips practical, she also suggests specific products that you can use the next time you do a renovation.

The New Normal: An Agenda for Responsible Living, by Dave Wann. His book calls for a paradigm shift about how we view “success” in life, and look at it in ways other than consumption, because at the rate we’re going, we’re outconsuming our future.

At Practically Green, Sam Roach interviews Allison Goodwin who works for Chelsea Green, a publishing company which, for the past 27 years, has been publishing books on “the politics and practice of sustainable living.” Preston over at Jetson Green has written about, (and included pictures!) of the first passive house in North Carolina. There are some great specifics in the article about the HVAC system, the type of windows used, and some energy saving appliances installed.

Wind Simplicity — Toronto wind turbine company finalist for ISRI’s ‘Design for Recycling’ Competition

April 9th, 2010


Wind Simplicity is a local Toronto company that designs and manufactures small wind turbines.

One of the issues with wind turbines is that they can be noisy while rotating. The Windancer, however, is modelled after the Dutch and Prairie farm windmills, and has developed a quiet turbine that can generate between 3 and 23 kilowatts of power depending on the model.  It spins on a horizontal axis, and because the blades are made from aluminum, they are responsive to lighter wind speeds, generating electricity sooner.

In addition to these features, the Windancer was just awarded being a finalist in the Design for Recycling Competition held by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. The ISRI may sound unglamourous, but its importance in the grand scheme of our increasing garbage problem cannot be overstated. The ISRI has developed a program, “Design for Recycling,” where they encourage product design engineers to think of what will happen to a product at the end of its life. I can speak about the importance of this kind of effort first hand as I try to figure out what to do with a now defunct clock radio. I do not want it to go into landfill, but I can’t find a place to recycle it. End of life is becoming an increasingly important facet of overall product design.

In the case of the Windancer, it’s made of aluminum and steel, both of which are highly recyclable at end of life. Other wind turbine blades consist primarily of carbon composite material which is, at this point, is very difficult to recycle (you can read about it here).

For more information about the Windancer turbine and micro wind generation, visit Wind Simplicity’s website:

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