Interesting Products from WindPower 2009

Interesting Products from WindPower 2009

 
By Bill Lydon - Contributing Editor
 
These are products that caught my interest at the recent WindPower show in Chicago on May 4-7, 2009. WindPower 2009 proclaimed itself as the world’s largest wind conference with 1,280 exhibitors companies, over 290,000 square feet, and more than 23,000 attendees. Exhibitors from 48 states and representatives from all 50 states and 70 countries were present at WindPower, demonstrating the industry’s national and international scope.
 
You may also be interested in my Full Review of WindPower 2009.
 
Mariah Power
 
Mariah Power was founded in 2005 in Reno, Nevada to develop small wind products. The company’s first wind power appliance, Windspire wind turbine, was launched on June 2, 2008. The company’s goal is to provide wind products that are “accessible to the masses – affordable, attractive, and easily installed.”  The companies Windspire wind turbine is a propeller-free vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT). Using patented technology in its generator, the Windspire wind turbine maximizes energy conversion from wind into electric power, regardless of changing wind speed and direction. The Windspire is 30 feet tall with a two foot radius, sized below typical residential zoning restrictions. Guidelines for installation sites are generally half an acre of land and relatively windy locations.
 
In January, a Windspire wind turbine was prominent at President Obama’s Inauguration festivities on Capitol Hill and was also on display in Detroit, Michigan, at the North American International Auto Show, demonstrating its uses as an electric car charging station. The Windspire wind turbine includes a high efficiency generator, integrated inverter, and wireless monitor. It incorporates a slow speed giromill rotor for virtually silent operation and improved safety and durability. It connects directly to the grid tie of a home or building, and can even run the electricity meter backwards on net metered homes, when it is providing more electricity than is being used.
 
Manufactured in the U.S. with 98 percent recycled materials, Windspire wind turbine is priced at about $6,500 delivered, making it the lowest cost renewable energy system in the one kilowatt range. The United States federal government now offers a 30 percent tax credit toward the total cost of the unit, including installation.
 
In December 2008, Mariah Power signed a contract for its first high volume manufacturing site in partnership with MasTech Manufacturing of Manistee, Michigan. MasTech is a manufacturing and material handling specialist and was able to retrofit a former auto parts factory to accommodate manufacturing for the Windspire wind turbine.
 
Tangarie (Tan gâr ee) Alternative Power
 
Tangarie manufactures and sells the Greenpower Utility System (GUS™) line of vertical axis wind turbines for businesses, schools, homes, and industrial applications. The company states that GUS produces up to 50% more electricity on an annual basis versus conventional turbines with the same swept area  The GUS generates electricity in winds as low as 4 mph (1.5 m/s) and continues to generate power in wind speeds up to 130 mph (60m/s) depending on the model. The units are designed with no gearbox for improved reliability.
 
Windcube
 
Green Energy Technologies LLC launched the WindCube, a 60kW rooftop wind turbine designed for on-site power generation by commercial and industrial power users in urban and suburban locations. The turbine, which captures and amplifies the wind, fills a previously unmet need for wind turbines that can be placed into service in a very small footprint and take advantage of the nation’s net metering laws. The turbine is available as a single (60kW) or dual (120kW) system and in rooftop or tower-mounted design. The company claims it produces the same amount of energy as a traditional turbine (50 foot in diameter) in a 22x22x12-foot framework. Target applications include industrial companies and commercial office buildings to big-box retailers, college campuses, and electric users in remote locations.
 
The WindCube features a patent-pending design that relies on the wind tunnel effect known in physics as the Bernoulli Principle.   The rest of the wind industry generates energy through the use of freestream wind, the WindCube captures and amplifies the wind, which produces more kilowatt-hours (kWh). As the wind comes into the WindCube shroud, it becomes concentrated, creating increased velocity and in turn more power. Because of the amplification effect, the WindCube is able to capture wind energy as low as 5 mph. The WindCube generates electricity by running its motor backwards using an impeller (the opposite of a propeller), eliminating the need for a gearbox.
 
Endurance Wind Power
 
Endurance Wind Power Inc. is the producer of a complete line of small to mid-sized, grid-connected (inverterless) wind turbines. They offer a complete suite of wind turbine products that are all built to safety and performance standards of large utility-scale multi-MW turbines.
 

 
Northern Power Systems Launches Wind for Schools Package
 
Northern Power Systems, Inc., manufacturer of community wind turbines, unveiled a Wind for Schools package that will help more schools produce their own wind power and engage their students and communities in realizing the benefits of renewable energy. The package outfits educational institutions with a Northwind 100 wind turbine, standards-based K-12 curriculum that is customized and linked to real-time turbine data, and web-based access for students and community members. The education curriculum was co-created with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED).  This curriculum set outfits instructors and students with educational guides, kits to conduct hands-on activities, and a custom curriculum designed to work specifically for use with Northern Power Systems’ Northwind 100 and StudentView program.   StudentView is a classroom interface that includes site-specific datasets for use with the custom curriculum.
 
The Wind for Schools package allows schools in the United States to take advantage of opportunities presented by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bill provides over $2.5 billion in grants to help state and local governments fund their renewable energy projects via the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG), and also authorizes an additional $1.6 billion in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), which schools can take advantage of, along with various state and local incentive programs.
 
The Switch - Megawatt Permanent Magnet Generator & Power Converter Packages
 
The Switch provides megawatt-class permanent magnet generators and full-power converter packages for wind power. The Switch is headquartered in Vantaa, Finland with production facilities in Hudson, NH. The company announced technologies to enable wind installations to more effectively capture wind power and transform it to significantly higher energy production with its innovative drive train technology. The Switch Drive allows active power extracted from the turbine, as well as the reactive power produced, to be individually and precisely controlled over the entire operating speed range.   By allowing a wide range of speeds, the drive train can run at the optimized operation point for the turbine. Control is based on the optimum turbine curve and is not limited by the drive train, thereby providing better partial load rates. A full-power converter enables easy power factor control, which means that all the current can be used for active or reactive power generation. This allows for a 100% reactive power feed, even in the absence of wind.
 
Carter Products - Laser Alignment System
 
Carter introduced the next generation of their laser alignment system, designated the LP-HFD. Improvements include more sophisticated projection capabilities and software. It is also available with a green laser output which is more visible in many manufacturing environments. For blade production, the Carter laser alignment systems provide an interface to industry-standard CAD design software. Layout and production information is extracted from the CAD program and projected to the work area. The system combines contour templating and computer control to increase accuracy; reducing cycle times, labor costs and rework. Carter laser alignment systems will also work with CNC machining centers to guide final milling and trimming of the finished blade or other components.
 
Beckhoff
 
Beckhoff demonstrated their wind power solutions and their worldwide wind power expert was present to answer questions. Beckhoff illustrated their capabilities with the application of Beckhoff controls in the new 2 MW converter from DeWind AG, Germany, also known as “the D8. The new DeWind Type D8 wind power converters utilize a new controller design based on Beckhoff Industrial PCs, TwinCAT automation software, and Bus Terminal technologies. Functions include complex electronic control for operation, diagnostics, and remote data monitoring.
 
Beckhoff C6220 Control Cabinet Industrial PC
 
A Beckhoff C6220 Control Cabinet Industrial PC running the TwinCAT automation software performs all control tasks of the D8. Around 200 I/O points distributed over the nacelle and the base of the tower are passed through the Bus Terminal system to the PC controller. The real-time requirements of the system for general control and regulation lie in the range of a deterministic cycle time of 10 ms; for power feeding and monitoring task, the time is around 1 ms. The main network monitoring and the link to the frequency converter located in the base of the tower are implemented via CANopen. The Bus Terminals are connected through optical fibers to the Industrial PC located in the base of the tower. Dewind wind power experts used the Beckhoff TwinCAT software to develop applications in the IEC 61131-3 open standard software programming controls.
 
Mita-Teknik
 
Mita-Teknik showed a complete line of controls and monitoring systems for wind power applications. This was the companies first time exhibiting in the United States. The company told me they provide the majority of independently supplied controls to the wind industry. Mita-Teknik was established in 1969 with products developed to satisfy the individual needs of customers.  Mita-Teknik products comply with international standards.
 

 
Matrikon Wind Asset Monitoring Solution
 
Matrikon Inc. announced the official launch of their Wind Asset Monitor that allows wind farm operators to monitor, maintain, analyze and improve their equipment and asset performance in real-time.
 
 
Snap-on Tools, Mobile Tool Cribs
 
Snap-on, legendary for quality tools, demonstrated their mobile tool crib that is already successfully used by a number of companies including Alstom Power. The mobile tool crib is basically a ship container that is outfitted as a fully equipped tool crib including computer and software for complete tool management at a jobsite. This gives customers a custom-built turnkey mobile tool crib that operates from start to finish within a controlled environment. All tools are accounted for and the customer always knows who has a particular tool, when it was checked out and when it was returned - significantly reducing tool loss. Modular in design, mobile tool cribs include storage and control systems, cabinets, shelving, along with electrical components, lighting and air conditioning, and electronic keyless entry systems. Snap-on can even provide trained tool crib attendants to manage the mobile tool crib on site. When the job is finished, mobile tool cribs can be loaded onto a tractor trailer for delivery to the next jobsite.
 
Dropping Tools Hurts!
 
Since wind turbine towers are high in the air, dropping tools can hurt productivity and have a big impact on people standing on the ground. Snap-on has some solutions to this problem with clever way to tether tools to the user.
 
 
ICONICS - GEO Productivity Portals
 
ICONICS announced the combination of several of its products into a GEO Productivity Portal for renewable energy industries such as wind power, solar, bio fuel, hydro and fuel cell.
 
 
GEO Productivity Portals provide a dashboard of overall productivity, alarm information from wind turbines, and local meteorological information for complete wind farm management. The portals are built from a combination of ICONICS technologies including GEO-SCADA, productivity analysis, and real-time online collaboration and visualization dashboards.
 
Eaton
 
Eaton illustrated a range of products they provide for the wind power industry including low voltage components & drives, medium voltage components & drives power distribution panels, turbine control panels, dry type transformers, UPS, ANSI switchgear, IEC switchgear, vacuum circuit breakers, vacuum contactors, medium voltage switchgear, medium voltage breakers, step up transformers, integrated power assembly (IPA), and electrical services.