January 29, 2009 weblog
Rooftop wind turbine invention seeks support in Google contest
(Physorg.com) -- A Seattle man has invented a small wind turbine that can be installed on homeowners' rooftops. The "Jellyfish" wind turbine generates about 40 kilowatt hours each month, which is enough to light a home using high-efficiency bulbs.
According to inventor Chad Maglaque, 42, the advantage of the rooftop wind turbines is that people can buy them at big box stores like Costco, and the devices wouldn't require extra expenses and inspections that large-scale wind systems do. Maglaque built a prototype of his turbine for about $100, but expects that each turbine would initially cost $400-$500 if sold in a store.
Seeking financial support to continue his project, the West Seattle resident has entered his prototype in Google's "Project 10 to the 100th" contest. The contest celebrates Google's 10th anniversary by awarding $10 million to five innovative inventions. Google received more than 100,000 entries submitted in 25 languages, and has narrowed the field to 100 entries. Starting March 17, the public can vote to determine the top 20, and a Google advisory panel will pick the five winners.
According to an article in The Seattle Times earlier this week, Maglaque's YouTube entry for his wind turbine is one of the most viewed among all the submitted projects.
The three-foot wind turbine, which has three vertical blades, could be plugged directly into an outdoor electrical socket. The turbine's variable-speed motor is then connected directly to the electrical grid. When its sensors detect an adequate amount of wind, the turbine automatically turns the motor on, generating electricity that can either be used in the home or fed back to the grid.
While other small wind turbines have already been developed, most require an expensive converter to transform variable wind energy into a steady current for the grid. Maglaque's design doesn't need a converter, making it easier to use and relatively less expensive.
"It's not going to power the whole house," says Maglaque, who does freelance work in product management and strategy for technology companies. "But it's about doing every little bit."
If Maglaque decides to push his idea forward, he will have to obtain safety certifications and utility approval, and face other various restrictions. In his project application to Google, he said he would use the contest money to pursue these certifications, as well as to support policy change among governments and utilities to allow the devices to operate.
About the Jellyfish Wind Turbine - www.clariantechnologies.com/
Google's Project 10 to the 100th - http://www.project10tothe100.com/
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