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The Race for Wind Power

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Inflatable Wind Turbines Proving to be an Affordable Energy Solution

August 5th 2011

Energy / Environment - Inflatable Wind Turbine

Inflatable wind turbines are now lighter and cheaper than heavy conventional ones. Following a number of  Israeli clean technology companies being winners in the General Electric Company’s Green Innovation Marathon, GE has announced plans to establish a “Green Tech Shop” in Haifa in which a number of renewable energy and other green technology projects will be developed under the giant American electronics company’s sponsorship. One of these green companies, Winflex LTD, is set on proving that harnessing energy from the wind does not have to involve the use of  large cumbersome wind turbines, such as the wind turbines now churning away on the Golan Heights.

Winflex wind rotor

What is unique about Winflex’s inflatable wind turbines is that they are made out of “light, flexible and inexpensive cloth sheets made out of composite materials.” The result are light weight portable wind turbines that can be installed virtually anywhere – even on home rooftops – and result in a much shorter return on equipment investment than conventional wind turbines. By reducing costs and erection time of equipment, it reduces need for government subsidies, according to Winflex’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Vladimir Kliatzkin.

Using inflatable, easily installed wind turbines is a novel idea, especially compared to those giant whirling wind turbines are now becoming commonplace in many western European countries, such as Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark, and Holland. Winflex’s designs uses a much lighter rotor around which the turbine blades revolve like sails from a sailing vessel.

The turbines are designed to operate in varying weather conditions, including stormy weather. So far, WINFLEX has designed, built, tested and successfully connected to the grid for over two years 2 POC turbines: 10 kW & 200 kW. The company’s primary objective is to penetrate the wind turbine energy market with a 1 MW turbine.

With a shorter investment return and much easier portability than conventional wind turbines, it appears that Winflex may be on its way to providing a practical and affordable renewable energy solution that will provide endless renewable and “free” energy with minimum, if any, environmental restrictions. At this point, this appears to be a “win win” idea to capture and harness the wind.

Written by Maurice Picow, a writer for the Green Prophet, from which this article is adapted.


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