Building tops to house urban windpower

Dec 18, 2013 by Chris Thomas
Building tops to house urban windpower

The southern hemisphere's largest ever Windpod system has been installed on the City of Cockburn's administration building in Spearwood, as part of a joint research trial with Windpods International.

Twenty Windpod turbines have been installed on the building – facing south-west to harvest the most – and are expected to generate 4.5 megawatt hours of power each year.

It follows their first commercial installation on the roof of the City of Fremantle's council chambers in 2009, after early development was conducted in and around Fremantle and the University of WA's wind tunnel.

Originally invented by Fremantle resident Graeme Attey, Windpods are small-scale, drum-style designed to suit urban environments.

"Wind turbines work by converting the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power and Windpods use this power to drive a generator situated at the end of each turbine," City of Cockburn climate change officer Jennifer Harrison says.

"The electricity from the generator is fed through a cable to an inverter that converts the energy from DC to AC electricity which can be used by the building.

"Windpods produce lower noise and vibration than conventional style wind turbines and are efficient in turbulent environments, such as on and near buildings."

Each Windpod turbine is divided into three sections with two longitudinal aerodynamic blades in each section and is encased in an outer frame, which makes the structure easier to see and safer for birds.

They can be installed vertically, horizontally or at any angle in between—in the City of Cockburn's case, they have been installed horizontally in four banks, supported in a purpose-built steel frame.

"Each Windpod is 0.5kW, providing 10kW of electricity combined, which is equivalent to about 60 photovoltaic panels," Ms Harrison says.

Cockburn Mayor Logan K. Howlett says the Windpod system on the council's administration building added to the 13 per cent of renewable energy already being generated for another two buildings on the same site.

"Energy monitoring equipment has been installed and the is collecting data that will add to its growing wealth of knowledge about sustainability," he says.

"Our investments in renewable energy were formally recognised in 2012 with our city topping the list for sustainability across the nation [Australia's Most Sustainable City]."

The Windpods are the latest addition to the City of Cockburn program, joining a collection of 599 installed on 10 community buildings across the Cockburn area.

Explore further: Improving energy conversion processes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Improving energy conversion processes

Dec 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —Renewable energy sources such as wind-powered generators can be more reliable and efficient by better controlling the process of getting electricity onto the power grid, according to a United ...

Wind map shows untapped energy potential in cities

Apr 24, 2013

Putting a wind turbine on your suburban home may leave you disappointed but there is a large untapped wind energy potential in UK cities, say scientists. A new study has mapped the wind energy potential of ...

Recommended for you

Audi to develop Tesla Model S all-electric rival

13 hours ago

The Tesla Model S has a rival. Audi is to develop all-electric family car. This is to be a family car that will offer an all-electric range of 280 miles (450 kilometers), according to Auto Express, which ...

A green data center with an autonomous power supply

18 hours ago

A new data center in the United States is generating electricity for its servers entirely from renewable sources, converting biogas from a sewage treatment plant into electricity and water. Siemens implemented ...

Can we create an energy efficient Internet?

19 hours ago

With the number of Internet connected devices rapidly increasing, researchers from Melbourne are starting a new research program to reduce energy consumption of such devices.

Shedding light on solar power

Nov 27, 2014

Everyone wants to save energy, but not everyone knows where to start. Grid Resources, a startup based out of the Centre for Urban Energy's iCUE incubator, is developing a new website that seeks to help homeowners ...

Energy transition project moves into its second phase

Nov 27, 2014

Siemens is studying new concepts for optimizing the cost-effectiveness and technical performance of energy systems with distributed and fluctuating electricity production. The associated IRENE research project ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

lee_nhan_54
not rated yet Dec 19, 2013
'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.'
According to the new model, wind energy,no need wind outdoors, Effective Immediately, no longer any cost fb lee.nhan.54 ; aboutme leenhan.54
climaterealistsbondi
not rated yet Dec 24, 2013
If the information is correct, this installation is hideously inefficient. Even with the rosy assumption of 20 years of efficient use, the installation generates just $7,200 over a lifetime at coal fired parity (8c per kilowatt hour.) $360 per pod. Assuming just 200kg each of steel, the raw steel production accounts for 10% of the CO2 savings. Fabrication, transport and decommissioning would be at least another 10% and this is being optimistic.All the whole exercise does is make some Greenies feel good. Remember, the money spent on the fixtures(which would have to be more than $360 per pod) could have been spent on other stuff.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.