Entrepreneurs in Australia are developing a new, small-scale wind turbine suitable for rooftops. The Windpod, as it is called, looks more like a cylindrical, vertical-axis wind turbine, than a ‘pinwheel’ horizontal-axis turbine, but is deployed on its side.
The Windpod G1 has a diameter of 450mm and a length of 2200mm (about 18 inches by 86.5 inches) and can produce up to 1 kilowatt of power. However, the cut-in wind speed seems to be around 4 meters/second (about 9 mph), and full power is not reached until a wind speed of 12.5 meters/second (nearly 28 mph). Locations with strongly directional prevailing winds would be suitable for this system, but with the high wind speeds necessary, it’s unlikely this approach will replace other types of wind turbines.
It is not the first rooftop turbine on the market. We’ve seen other rooftop turbines that aim to use the slope of a residential roof as a wing to help drive more air through the turbine and increase its power output. The Windpod is also proposed for installation at the ridge of a sloped roof or at the roof or corner edge of a larger building, where increased wind effects are strongest. Unlike some other roof-edge turbines we’ve seen, the Windpod seems particularly well suited for this kind of application, although it’s a fairly limited and specialized use.
Installed cost for the Windpod in Australia is estimated to be AU$7,000-7,500/kW.