FloDesign Wants to Change Clean Energy With Jet-Engine Wind Turbine
Get ready, Californians, because you’re soon going to see a whole new crop of windmills dotting your west coast landscape.
A Massachusetts’ company called FloDesign with investments from California venture capitalists, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Goldman Sachs, is about to go public with its first big invention. FloDesign (soon to be named Ogin) is prepared to roll out a new breakthrough in clean energy with a windmill that looks like it was made from a turbine jet engine.
FastCompany talked with designers and executives who want to change the way we think about wind power. Windmills are a common sight for many in the States with 45,000 of them spread through 39 states. Last year alone, they generated 60,000 megawatts, enough to power the equivalent of about 15 million U.S. homes.
While the current crop of windmills have an unquestionable value as an energy resource they’re often incredibly noisy and as tall as 500 feet. FloDesign’s new windmills dwarf in size at 155 feet and boosts the windmill’s energy performance according to aerospace scientist Walter Presz. “In our machine, a 2-mile-per-hour wind will be like a 4-mile-per-hour wind.”
It’s this focus on boosting the wind turbine’s performance that’s been FloDesign’s jet engine modeled turbine’s strong point. The goal has been finding a path to capitalize on less windy markets and reduce the reliance on power grids -something hinders the larger turbines. While smaller and more efficient wind turbines that produce cleaner energy are something to strive for, actually making the idea a financial success is a different problem entirely.
There’s investors, safety and performance certification, and managing a manufacturing supply chain that runs from China to California. Still, the company hopes to install 10 of the new windmills by the end of this year and over 800 by the close of 2014.