As SMEs in the supply chain of small wind turbines (WTs), we have identified an excellent opportunity in the urban submarket. The small wind market mainly corresponds to turbines installed in rural and isolated areas. Nevertheless, urban is by far the largest potential market, as 80% of the 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 of 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 the Urban Wind regime. The low wind speed and turbulent flows makes the achievement of wind energy cost effectiveness more difficult in urban areas.
WINDUR proposes a small vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) optimized for use in urban environments as a roof-top mounted system. Proposed novel developments include:
(1) a variable speed control system developed to maximize VAWT’s energy yield under the rapidly changing wind speeds,
(2) an aerodynamic design based on a helical rotor refined for reducing rotor weight and loads on the roof, to lower WINDUR installation complexity and cost, and
(3) an assessment of wind resource in urban areas, for characterizing those locations with better wind resources.
WINDUR has a targeted performance of 0.35 kWh/€ at an annual average wind speed of 6.5 m/s for guaranteeing a return on investment period shorter than 15 years.
WINDUR aims to develop solutions that contribute to give a competitive advantage to European SMEs in the supply chain of small wind turbines. WINDUR’s consortium of SMEs include suppliers of WT components, a WT manufacturer, a WT installer and a wind resource consultancy. We intend to use extensive knowledge and technical capabilities of European RTDs to enforce the development of Small Wind.