Frequently asked questions


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Wind Turbines and Axial Flux Permanent Magnet Generators

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please submit your questions by e-mail to :

info@scaledenergyllc.com

We will respond to you and post your question and our answer here.

 

Q: What is the difference between Scaled Energy wind turbines and other manufactures turbines ?


A: There are various differences:

    1) Our turbines are up-wind turbines with patented blade-pitch mechanism for overspeed protection, not a furling mechanism.

    2) S.E. wind turbines don't need (have) a tail (prone to failure) to keep the rotor in the wind, but work much like a down-wind turbine without the penalty of having to deal with the turbulences caused by the support structure as is the case with down-wind turbines.

    3) S.E. wind turbines are equipped with S.E. axial flux permanent magnet generators specifically designed to match the rotor (propeller) output for optimal efficiency at any given wind speed.

     4) S.E. does not use propeller blades made of glass-fiber / polyester composite (cheap and not as strong), but uses only the in house made carbon-fiber / epoxy blades with the proprietary high efficiency airfoil design.

     5) All components of our turbines including the towers (masts) are made only of the finest materials, like stainless steel SS 316L and hard-coated aircraft grade aluminum alloy 6063-T6 to prevent corrosion even under harshest conditions with salt-spray, ensuring long lifetime and very low service requirements.   


Q: What is the difference between "radial" and "axial" flux generators?


A: Commonly are used radial flux generators, as they are readily available in almost all sizes and makes, and are less expensive due to mass production. But they are not ideal for wind power, as they all have a "cogging torque" resisting the start-up in common due to the fact, that the magnetic field force extended radially tends to resist rotation.

Axial flux generators are not as commonly available, and are not produced (yet) in all sizes and large quantities, and most of them are produced in Asia with low quality and standards. Axial flux generators are ideal for wind power applications, as they don't have the resistance of "cogging toque" to overcome, and thus let the turbine start spinning at a lesser available wind speed and therefore starts producing power earlier.

 

Q: Which is better, wind or solar?


A: There is no universal answer for this, as it depends on location, current and future pricing of photovoltaic systems, and technology advances in both technologies, wind and solar.

However, generally: If you are in a location with a sufficient average wind-speed, the cost of a photovoltaic system of the same annual power-output as a wind turbine is still about twice the cost of the wind turbine, and the life expectancy of the (well built) wind turbine exceeds the photovoltaic system by a large margin. But be aware, that some wind turbine manufacturers are exaggerating the supposed output data also by a large margin, and their poorly designed and cheaply made turbines will not last very long as seen in the examples below.

Well engineered and manufactured turbines last 30 + years!

 

Q: How can I get wind data to help me decide if wind power is an option for my location ?


A:  This is a good question. Average wind data can be accessed at this site:

 http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp

and here :

 http://www.nrel.gov/gis/data_wind.html

These wind data and wind maps can be used for a first assessment, but they will not give you a real picture of the potential of your site, as these average wind speeds can differ greatly from the values at your specific location. Also, the average wind speed is not as important as the spread of wind speed.

We like to give you an example (extreme):

If you are told to have a 6 mph average, this average is normally calculated based on long term data-logging and than "averaged" by dividing the data acquired by the duration of the time the data has been collected.

So let's say for simplicity that you collect the data for a 24 hour period, so this could mean, that you have a steady wind speed of 6 mph during this time period (not very likely) + 6 mph x 24 = 144 : 24 = 6 mph thus you would have a 6 mph "average".

Now you could also log 5 hrs of 20 mph and 4 hrs of 11 mph, and than the remaining 15 hrs of the day complete calm (another not very likely, but possible situation) - you would come to the same "average" :                5x20 + 4x11= 100+44 = 144 ; 144 : 24 = 6 mph

While the "average" wind speed in both cases would be 6 mph, there would be a huge difference in power - production by the wind turbine, as the production at 6 mph, even through the whole time period of 24 hrs would be a lot less than the production of the turbine running only for the 5 hrs at 20 mph and 4 hrs at 11 mph, and standing still for 15 hrs.

Conclusion: While these wind maps and data available on the mentioned sites are giving you a first estimate of what to expect, and a Weibull Calculation can narrow the estimation to be more accurate, the best and most accurate results can only be provided by a specific site evaluation.

 

Q: I am undecided if I should go with a horizontal or vertical turbine. Which is better? Can you explain or give some advice?


A: We are manufacturing horizontal wind turbines, and that should give you a hint :-)

However, many of the sellers and manufacturers of vertical wind turbines will tell you a lot about the advantages of vertical versus horizontal turbines, and probably none of them are right.

Some claim, that vertical turbines don't suffer or don't suffer as much from turbulences in regard to efficiency as horizontal turbines, and therefore can be used on shorter towers, or even be mounted close to the ground, so they can be easily serviced. This is definitely a false claim.

Some claim to achieve high power output with relatively small footprint (rotor height and diameters) - False again, unless the wind speed at your location is constantly at hurricane force, but than they would have to be shut down anyhow to avoid destruction (but the same is true for some sellers / manufacturers of horizontal wind turbines) :-) .

 

 

Q: Why are your towers higher than most competitors?

 
A:  Serious competitors also offer and promote higher towers as we do. the standard tower heights we offer are for 54' and 64' hub height, but we can and do offer higher towers too, just not smaller ones.

Tower height has a great effect on the available wind power, and last but not least: the higher you go, the less turbulence caused by vegetation / buildings etc. is noticed. Tower-height matters !

   Tower Height matters

Q: I have done some research about cost of comparable wind turbines, and want to ask why yours are among the high price turbines ?


A: If you shop around, you will find many turbines offered at much lower prices, and some of equal or even higher price.

There are compelling reasons for this:

1) Most of the "low-ballers" originate from Asia - imports (buyer beware)     

2) If you compare by the values given to you by "technical data" sheets, they might just not be worth the paper they are printed on, and you might as well compare an apple to an orange.                                                  

3) Quality, warranty and service might just not be at par with, or as good as, or even not present at all in the case of these low baller offers, whereas reputable and more expensive manufacturers take care of issues and stand by their products. We can tell you, that without the minimal doubt, you will get what you pay for.                                                                             

4) Compare the materials of the components, to see if there is the hidden reason for the price difference.

Q: Some states have a list of "approved" wind turbines who qualify for rebate programs, are S.E. wind turbines on such lists?


A:  No, not yet, because we don't like the underlying fact, that these lists provide a false sense of security.

An example of this is the California list. The problem is that approval for this list, and the performance data provided (such as rated power and energy production) are essentially self-certified. The less-scrupulous manufacturers can 'manufacture' data and submit it under the pretense that it was measured.  The only value of those lists is in telling you what rebates are available, they do not provide reliable turbine information.

 

Q: How big a wind turbine will I need to power my home?

A:  It all depends on what you want to power up. If you currently are on grid, the easiest way to find out what your power-need would be, is having a look at your current power bills, which will give you the amount of consumption.

From there you can plan, what size of turbine (and power-storage) you would need to become completely independent from the grid, if this is what you want to achieve.

However, you can also remain tied to the grid, and use a smaller turbine just to provide relief or in addition use it as an emergency power source, and pretty much anything in between and above, as you can also sell your excess power back to the grid.

 

Q: Can you combine wind power with solar?


A: Yes you can. These systems are called "Hybrid" systems.

 

Q: I have read about producing Hydrogen with wind power. Is this a futuristic solution, or can it be done already today?


A: No, this is already an available technology, and hydrogen generating devices are readily available in various sizes and different technologies, which can be paired with almost any wind turbine, and this technologies are rapidly evolving.

Q: Where can I get reliable information about wind power?

Very good information everyone should at least read is available here:

http://www.renewwisconsin.org/wind/windtoolbox.htm

Mr. Mick Sagrillo is a renowned expert, and debunks many of the myths and false claims you can find on the internet. A must read !  

 

Q: I have heard about Power-Grid vulnerability, and recently it was reported that our grid system has been hacked possibly by Russia, which, if activated, could lead to a very dangerous and life-threatening situation. How can such life threatening situation be mitigated / avoided?

A: The National Power Grid needs to be modernized and made less vulnerable, which will take a long time and needs appropriate political action / intervention. However, micro grids, distributed wind and solar installations, small community wind and solar, personal wind and solar installations might be the appropriate way to protect from large scale outages, "black-outs" and "brown-outs" better than anything applied to the nationwide grid. People should DEMAND appropriate legislation, policies and tax incentives for such installations.

   

Some answers to common questions heard multiple times

and some examples:

While we don't like to "badmouth" anyone, some things just need to be said, in order to shine some light onto companies and their products, as they are hurting not only buyers, but also our industry as a whole.

Therefore we give some examples to look at, and raise awareness for "Buyer beware"

  • (Bad) Example of a (Chinese made) wind turbine rusting away and never producing power since installation:

Chinese Crap 02

  • Another bad example of a Chinese made turbine, which has lost all three blades due to the use of cheap materials and improper engineering:

Chinese Crap 03

...obviously both owners have tried to get replacement without any luck!

 

  • Sorry, previously we said:
  • "To be fair, a bad example of an American made (vertical) turbine:"
  • but as we learned, this turbine was only marketed as "American made", when in reality it also originates from China (Shanghai Aeolus Wind power Technology Co., Ltd.) and branded "WePower" for the American market.

    The company who sold these turbines (vertical), sold them under the disguise to be "American made", but they were only imported from China (once again), and rebranded "WePower". The unfortunate clients (buyers) of these Scam artists will likely have to write off their substantial investment.

...broken wing...

Falcon 01

Falcon 02

Falcon 03

..and lots of corrosion...

Falcon 04

Falcon 05

 

Some links to prove the above:

American version:

http://www.sierrasolarsystems.com/

files/wepowerFALCON_all.pdf

or:

http://www.cleanergreenerenergies.com/

images/CGE_WEPower_Info_Sheet.pdf

 Chinese Version:

http://aeolus88.en.ecplaza.net/

 

Before deciding to invest in a small wind turbine make sure it is not a Chinese import rebranded to be sold in the US, have a deep look into the performance data provided, as most of the time these data are pure fantasy, and have nothing to do with reality.

Make sure that the location you have available to erect the wind turbine is suitable for the purpose.


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