In the last few weeks it's become obvious that the demand for wind power is skyrocketing. Manufacturers can't build enough turbines to fill orders, and waiting lists are already years long. So something's going right in Wind. But the CEO of FloDesign Wind, Stanely Kowalski thinks things could be going even better. Using FloDesign's expertise in aircraft engines, he hopes to completely re-invent the wind turbine...and make them three times more efficient while he's at it.
Even better, he says that, since his turbines can be made through more traditional means, they could simultaneously increase demand for and production of wind turbines.
EG: Your new turbines seem to have some significant advantages over traditional turbines. Why is it that, in the last ten years of wind development, no one else has built turbines like this?
SK: First, we believe it’s because the market is well served and mature. Meaning, traditional turbines provide the most economical renewable option and perform well. Second, it takes significant funding to design and build a large-scale unit. Third, there have been prior attempts that have not worked out.
EG: What makes FloDesign the best company to design these new turbines?
SK: We have used the enabling technology in the wind turbine in numerous other products. Our team has used the same technology on the Gulf Stream, Boeing and Sikorsky aircraft. We have based our design on fundamental, engineering principles and have conducted the studies to show our design is financially feasible
EG: Is FloDesign working on a full-scale prototype for demonstration of the technology?
SK: Yes, we plan to build a 12ft diameter. 10KW unit.
EG: Have you put any thought into who would manufacture these marvelous new turbines and how soon the could start?
SK: Current wind turbine designs require custom equipment for both fabrication and transport. This results in long lead times for delivery and custom manufacturing plants and rising costs. Our design uses standard manufacturing techniques used around the world. Our blades are shorter and stubbier resulting in simplified fabrication, i.e. extrusion. Our components are limited in size to fit in shipping containers. FloDesign Wind Turbine Corp. is seeking international distribution partnerships. We plan to align with distributors from around the world to manufacture and sell our design. Thus, we hope to meet the world’s wind power needs through rapid deployment.
EG: You just raised $500,000 for FloDesign's wind turbine project. Where is that money going to help the most?
SK: We plan to develop the prototype unit. Once we have qualified the performance curves, we can scale to the larger sizes with confidence.
EG: When is the soonest that you think we could see these turbines generating grid electricity?
SK: Our plan calls for a running unit in less than 2 years.
EG: When and why did FloDesign decide that they could move from designing airplane engines and non-lethal weapons to designing wind turbines? Did concern for the environment influence that decision?
SK: I would like to believe that concern for the environment played a role, however, it was serendipitous. We were working on a shrouded propulsion system that revealed unprecedented performance. We then thought, "what would happen if we used the shroud to draw energy out of the prop." It worked.
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