By Gillian Slade on March 25, 2017.
A way to generate wind energy on the roof of someone’s home or on a commercial scale has propelled the design of an affordable horizontal axis wind turbine by a Medicine Hat native.
A unit about as long as the average couch could produce 1,500 watts, which would be enough for the average home, said the inventor Garry Emshey, who is from Medicine Hat but lives in Fort McMurray. The turbine could be incorporated into a roof structure.
Excess energy could be stored in a battery or sold to the grid when the energy is not needed, said Emshey.
“It’s the only one of its kind in the world,” said Emshey. “It can be mounted on a roof, in a field, or on a trailer making it mobile,” said Emshey.
Since 2011, when Emshey worked on the first prototype, there have been some modifications to refine the process and components. The blades, which are made from high-density polyethylene, are shorter now and can be replaced individually if required, said Emshey.
One of the advantages of the horizontal axis is that unlike other wind turbines that have to shut down in high winds, this will continue to operate by self modulating and using a cowling that moves into place.
Alberta Innovates was shown a video of the prototype in operation, and Emshey says he was told to get an application in promptly for funding.
Emshey has already spent $100,000, including his time, to develop the design. Four patents were required. He now needs to partner to get it to the next level, including going into production for the general market.
The cost for a home unit would be between $5,000 and $8,000.
The turbine can easily be expanded in width to suit the conditions it will be used in. Emshey has explored the option of a complete unit with battery energy storage that would fit on a tractor-trailer and could be driven to a remote site to provide power for a field hospital or construction site.
Emshey has significant experience building gas plants, including the one in Medicine Hat, after which his job took him all over the world including, New Zealand, Chile, Australia, and Dubai to name a few. He graduated from Medicine Hat High and attended Medicine Hat College.
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