Monday, April 29, 2013

Very Small Wind Hopes To Power You Up


by Pete Danko

When I see the line, “Say you’re at Burning Man, where there’s a bunch of wind,” I’m thinking, yep, Pacific Sky Power knows its potential market.
You’ve heard about “small wind,” a category of wind power in which turbines range in size from a few hundred watts to 100 kilowatts, but most often land somewhere between 1.5 and 15 kW. These turbines are often used, to an extent, to power homes, farms and businesses.
image via Pacific Sky Power
image via Pacific Sky Power
Pacific Sky Power has taken to Kickstarter looking to grow their ability to make and market a different kind of wind power. You might call it “very small wind.”
The systems being offered through the Kickstarter campaign range in rated capacity from 15 to 45 kW (using from one to three 15-kW turbines). These turbines, with 15-inch rotor diameters, aren’t going to keep the lights on at home, not even for a little while – but they might help keep your phone charged. From the Pacific Sky Power Kickstarter page:
Wind turbines convert kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy which spins a generator to produce clean electricity. Our wind turbine is rated at 15 watts which can be used for charging 12 volt batteries. They’re great for camping, on boats and science projects. The 30 and 45 watt wind turbine systems include multiple turbines on a specialized tower.
The idea is you can set these little turbines up just about anywhere and connect it to a 12 volt deep cycle battery to store the energy you pull out of the air. Anywhere, like at … Burning Man. “Set one up at camp to help power 12 volt fans, air pumps, lights, personal electronics and toys of all kind,” Pacific Sky Power says.
Pacific Sky Power has a DIY look and feel; a Seattleite named Dan Tracy, who declares earnestly at the beginning of his video, “Hi, I’m Dan, and I love clean energy,” is behind it. He really does seem to, too.
On the Pacific Sky Power site, there are some other cool concepts offered up, like the Airborne 100, “a portable wind turbine system that uses kite power to harness stronger winds high in the sky.”
As of the posting of this story on Monday morning, Tracy and his cohorts have less than three days to raise the additional $500 or so that they need to hit their $5,000 funding goal, so if you’re interested, get to it! Here’s their video: