Wind energy: a new philosophy from Airsynergy
Jim Smyth, Airsynergy CEO, writes that the natural evolution of technology can reveal a lot about the future of renewable energy and outlines the company’s expansion plans.
Engineers and architects will soon have a much more attractive choice when it comes to wind power for residential and commercial developments. Issues of previous concern – such as physical attractiveness and noise, cost of installation and payback and the amount of energy generated – will be largely gone, thanks to a revolutionary turbine and turbine-powered street light coming to market this year. This Irish-designed product will mean that 80% of the world will now be able suitable for wind power rather than the 10% or so today.
History has taught us time and again that bigger is not better and that as technology develops, it becomes smaller, more powerful, more cost effective and more attractive – all attributes of the disruptive turbine technology from Granard-based renewable energy innovation company Airsynergy.
In November 1951, the world’s first business computer ran its first-ever program. Taking up approximately 5,000 feet of floor space and consuming 30,000 watts of power at its location in England, the LEO I launched a new era for business and the world at large. So what did this first enterprise computer program do?
It calculated the value of cakes, breads and pies for the J. Lyons & Company, the iconic tea chain of the 20th century.
The logistics of running a company with such highly perishable goods was a catalyst for this forward thinking company and launched what is now remembered as the IBM Mainframe era of the 1960s. Machines were huge, and businesses expanded just to be able to bring the power of computing to help propel businesses across industries. But a point was reached where bigger was not necessarily better. As vacuum tubes gave way to transistors, and as they in turn gave way to microprocessors, the computers became a technology that not just served industry, but the public at large.
Microsoft’s original vision in the late 1970s, a computer on every desk, not only became reality by the late 1980s, and it evolved to a computer in every pocket just two decades later! In just a half a century, we find ourselves in an age where smartphones are ubiquitous – all possessing computer applications that would seem inconceivable to the post-war trailblazers who set us on this course.
The history of technology in general, and computers specifically – including Microsoft’s mission statement to empower the end user – is an extremely relevant evolution people are well served to remember when thinking of the future of green tech and renewable power.
Inflection point in sustainable energy
We are clearly reaching an inflection point in sustainable energy. Costs to produce alternative energy are declining across all green technologies, with solar power leading the way with an 80% decrease in the cost of solar PV since 2008. Momentum has gained palpable speed as governments, industries and consumers have accelerated adoption of renewable energy sources.
But like the hulking mainframes that took up floors of real estate and made it so that the benefits of computing were only available to the public indirectly, renewable energy is nearing its ‘portable moment’ which will see a time where utility independence and on-site bespoke power production will be as common as the iPhone.
Technology has advanced to the point where we can now generate just as much predictable power at the source of where it is needed. Like the PC or the smart phone, we are steadily approaching a time when a distributed energy model will make the need for centralised utility distribution a thing of the past.
Ironic as it may seem, this greener, more sustainable vision of the future will not come by way of gigantic wind farms, growing higher and wider, chasing the wind and shipping to where it is needed. That will not only come as a relief to the so-called, perhaps unfairly, NIMBY (‘not in my back yard’) crowd, whose voices only grow louder as turbines stretch ever taller (and noisier), as they multiply through so many rural landscapes.
No, like solar technology that is better at extracting energy even in cloudy areas, the need to build leviathan-like turbines where the wind blows steady is becoming less necessary and it is essential that the technology develops to allow it to be embraced by more people. So-called ‘small wind’ that is beginning to extend beyond more remote rural areas to the tops of buildings and street lamps in urban environments, is ready to become a common sight in cities and on roadways.
Airsynergy wind turbines
Just like any desired, viable technology, innovation has led to greater efficiencies, which will allow end users to fix their energy price at under 10 cent per kilo watt hour on 5m/s sites across the world for circa twenty years or more – in many cases, halving the cost of energy from existing utilities.
The ability to extract power from ‘turbulent’ wind, which are the breezes deflected off of and between buildings, is a game changer. Airsynergy turbines do not have to chase the wind. They can be placed in locations with as little wind speed as 3.5m/s in urban locations with distorted wind sources. In more traditional locations for wind turbines, traditional small turbines do not ‘cut in’ until wind speeds are reached of approximately 2.5/3.5m/s, while the Airsynergy turbine cuts in at wind speeds as low as 1.6m/s.
With such performance at lower wind speeds, this innovation exponentially increases the number of suitable installation sites, bringing renewable, reliable and affordable wind energy to places never before possible. In addition, this technology will enable wind power to be generated closer to the point of use, rather than large distances from the customer that could save power transmission losses of up to 25%.
And, while able to produce energy in low and turbulent wind speeds, this turbine is also more powerful. Airsynergy’s patented wind turbine solution features a specially designed, patented shroud technology situated in front of the rotor which redirects and accelerates the air flowing past the blades, increasing the speed of the rotor and significantly increasing the power produced.
This innovation allows 5kw and 600w turbines to produce the same power of traditional turbines and at least doubling the power output from a wind turbine for only around 20% additional cost.
Interim power performance testing on our 5kW unit by independent, third-party German validator DNV GL Garrad Hassan confirms that our enhanced turbine produces 100% more power output than comparative 5kW turbines in the market.
And, since cost is ‘king’, it was important to ensure our products are also better value. We estimate that on average the payback is reduced by 40% compared to existing turbines and Airsynergy’s design creates a smooth laminar airflow reducing the effect of turbulence, thus reducing the maintenance cost over the turbines’ lifespan.
Entering Irish, UK and US markets
This is an exciting year for the company with the first products entering the Irish, UK and US markets in Q1 and Q2 2015. The company is on the verge of being able to install these small turbines almost anywhere, producing cheap, reliable, renewable energy – all directly at the location it is needed.
The target customer segments for these products are broad and diverse. On the 5kW, Airsynergy’s target customers will be farms, small factories, offices, hotels and restaurants and even domestic users with large energy requirements.
Target customers for the wind-generated streetlight will again include utilities as well as municipalities and commercial enterprises requiring street lighting for parking lots. And, our exhaust air louver product has very broad applications across industry and agricultural sectors.
Demonstrating that there is a place for turbines and renewable energy at the heart of communities, this past holiday season, a temporary Airsynergy turbine helped power a 30-foot Granard Christmas tree. Placed some 40 yards away, this turbine with its transparent shroud was almost inconspicuous in its urban locality, our small gift to the town and an effort to showcase this world-first technology.
To sum it up, these turbines are smaller, quieter, more powerful and more affordable than anything available anywhere in the world. They will revolutionise the world’s wind map and make 80% of the land mass suitable for wind power compared with only 10% today. They will dramatically cut electricity bills by more than half – and fix that price for decades.
We now live in an age of uncertainty where energy independence is finally being understood as a societal necessity. The environment is right, the technology is now here, and the proliferation of wind energy, of the people, for the people, is on its way to becoming a reality. I am quite confident that within twenty years, distributed power sources will become just as universal as the device on which you are reading these words.
Airsynergy renewable power products come to market in 2015
The initial sales focus will be primarily on Ireland, the UK and the US where Airsynergy has established licensees. Obelisk Group is the exclusive licensee of its sub-10kW turbine products throughout Ireland and the UK. Aris Renewable Energy is licensed by Airsynergy to develop, manufacture and sell sub 100kW wind turbines and wind-powered street lights using Airsynergy’s patented technology in the US and Caribbean.
Airsynergy is also targeting Denmark, Germany and the Middle East where it is currently in negotiations with a number of potential partners.
- 5kW wind turbine
The 5kW wind turbine is best suited for farms, small commercial businesses and larger homes with a high-energy requirement. It has a relatively low commercial price point and sufficient power (c17,500 kWh on a 5m/s average wind site) to help meet the power requirement and achieve a large percentage of energy security and independence for the end users energy needs (site dependent). It is significantly smaller, quieter and more powerful than any traditional turbine.
- Wind-generated streetlight
Airsynergy has developed a wind-generated streetlight that utilises the patented wind enhancement technology. This product has been prototyped and is set for initial market launch in Q1 2015 with full market launch in Q2 2015.
- Exhaust Air Louver
Every building has an air change requirement under European CIBSE standards and Airsynergy has developed a unique Air Louver that acts as a highly efficient ventilation system. A typical office will require five air-volume (m3) changes per hour. Airsynergy’s new Exhaust Air Louver meets these requirements naturally by manipulating negative air pressure at the outlet. This reduces the need for an electrical fan, slashing energy consumption and can be retro fitted to existing systems to achieve immediate inexpensive energy savings. Interestingly, the design has no moving parts and simple set up requirements.
If you want to find out more about any of the products, please contact Airsynergy at: firstname.lastname@example.org