Article

Wind Chill

Hans-Armin Ohlmann had hoped his experimental and unusual wind turbine would usher in a revolution in energy production. But progress has been slow for the Ayr resident -- the wind just isn't there. "We've had very bad wind capacity -- exceptionally unfortunate," said Ohlmann, principal owner of Ventax Wind Power Inc. in Ayr. Stretching 90 feet high, the tube-like prototype sits on a farm just west of Ayr in Blandford-Blenheim. It is clearly visible from Highway 401, sitting on a hill on the farm of Phil Schiedel on Concession 11. Schiedel is a three per cent owner of Ventax and paid $120,000 toward the test wind-turbine project, said Ohlmann, who footed the remaining $130,000. There are no external propeller-like turbines on this design. They are internal, and flipped 90 degrees so they face upward. The mechanical energy of two vertical rotors is converted into electricity.

Hans-Armin Ohlmann had hoped his experimental and unusual wind turbine would usher in a revolution in energy production.

But progress has been slow for the Ayr resident -- the wind just isn't there.

"We've had very bad wind capacity -- exceptionally unfortunate," said Ohlmann, principal owner of Ventax Wind Power Inc. in Ayr.

Stretching 90 feet high, the tube-like prototype sits on a farm just west of Ayr in Blandford-Blenheim. It is clearly visible from Highway 401, sitting on a hill on the farm of Phil Schiedel on Concession 11.

Schiedel is a three per cent owner of Ventax and paid $120,000 toward the test wind-turbine project, said Ohlmann, who footed the remaining $130,000.

There are no external propeller-like turbines on this design. They are internal, and flipped 90 degrees so they face upward. The mechanical energy of two vertical rotors is converted into electricity.

There are many advantages to Ohlmann's design. It occupies less land, is quieter and can operate at much faster wind speeds -- without the risk of parts flying off -- than traditional wind turbines.

But... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Hans-Armin Ohlmann had hoped his experimental and unusual wind turbine would usher in a revolution in energy production.

But progress has been slow for the Ayr resident -- the wind just isn't there.

"We've had very bad wind capacity -- exceptionally unfortunate," said Ohlmann, principal owner of Ventax Wind Power Inc. in Ayr.

Stretching 90 feet high, the tube-like prototype sits on a farm just west of Ayr in Blandford-Blenheim. It is clearly visible from Highway 401, sitting on a hill on the farm of Phil Schiedel on Concession 11.

Schiedel is a three per cent owner of Ventax and paid $120,000 toward the test wind-turbine project, said Ohlmann, who footed the remaining $130,000.

There are no external propeller-like turbines on this design. They are internal, and flipped 90 degrees so they face upward. The mechanical energy of two vertical rotors is converted into electricity.

There are many advantages to Ohlmann's design. It occupies less land, is quieter and can operate at much faster wind speeds -- without the risk of parts flying off -- than traditional wind turbines.

But in an area described by some as wind-deficient, Ohlmann has his work cut out for him. He still expects to get data from the prototype, but it will take a long time, up to a year.

Normally, when a wind turbine is going to be erected, a test tower is set up for at least a year to measure wind power. But Ohlmann and his team had no choice. Since Schiedel is a private investor and there was no outside funding, the prototype had to be set up on his farmland.

"We had no choice," said Khaled Nigim, who designed the system's electrical component.

Nigim, a former electrical engineering instructor at the University of Waterloo and an upcoming instructor at Conestoga College, said the design of the structure is innovative.

But with an average wind speed of less than 20 kilometres an hour in the region, the turbine often remains inactive, even perched on a hill above the Nith River valley.

"Ontario and especially the area of Waterloo, is not known to be ideal for wind turbines," Nigim said.

Right now, the prototype is not contracted with the Ontario Power Authority. It would only start supplying power into the grid after testing is complete and Ohlmann tweaks the design.

Frank Seglenieks, a civil engineering professor at UW, monitors wind from the university's on-campus weather station.

"There is nothing particularly windy, or less windy than normal this year," he said, adding that structures surrounding a wind turbine have a huge effect on its capacity.

"Certainly the most bang for your buck is when you put it in an area with no surface structure blocking," he said. "Wind is a very localized phenomenon."

A lot of wind farms in southwestern Ontario are not very successful, said Jim Cook, a climatologist with the Ontario Climate Centre.

"There are no specific areas in southwestern Ontario ideal for wind turbines," he said. "Down the shorelines can maybe be good for commercial purposes, but on a farm it's not usually economical."

Cook said most structures need to be about 100 metres high to yield a good outcome.

The Region of Waterloo, the City of Waterloo and UW are partnering in a project that will test whether or not some parts of Waterloo are viable for wind energy. The wind turbine feasibility study recently received $50,000 funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Faced with conflicting data about wind power in the region, the team will set up two test towers in the fall.

 



Source: http://www.therecord.com/NA...

AUG 18 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/10671-wind-chill
back to top