As SMEs in the supply chain of small wind turbines (WTs), we have identified an excellent opportunity in the urban submarket. The small wind mainly corresponds to turbines installed in rural and isolated areas. Nevertheless, urban is by far the largest potential market, as 80% of European population lives in cities and the EU Directive 2010/31/EU on Energy Performance of Buildings requires that “Member States shall ensure that by 31 December 2020 all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings”. This is an exciting commercial opportunity, which yet needs to cope with technical challenges related to the peculiarities of Urban Wind regime. The low wind speed and turbulent flows makes the achievement of wind energy cost effectiveness more difficult in urban areas.
WINDUR aims to develop a small wind turbine for the urban environment. This system will be designed to operate as a roof top mounted installation on domestic buildings which is economically sustainable (produce >10.500kW/year, with a return on investment in approximately 15 years).
Wind power economical sustainability depends not only on the excellence of wind turbine features, but mostly on the wind power resource itself. Unlike open environments, little attention has been paid to the assessment of wind power resources in urban areas and under typical building top-roof local conditions, characterized by turbulence, gust winds and multidirectional and highly variable speed wind flows. Consequently today open-environment designs and technologies are inadequately expected to harness urban wind power as they do with more continuous air flows, and most commonly the average performance of turbines placed on top of the houses and buildings bring about very poor efficiency figures that do not justify their investment.
WINDUR wants to develop a solution for this.