With the mayors of San Francisco and New York calling for wind turbines to be placed throughout their cities, urban wind has been getting a closer look — particularly from investors. Quiet Revolution, a London-based small wind turbine maker, says it has raised £7 million ($12.49 million) — £6 million from RWE Innogy (part of the RWE Group) and £1 million from private investors — to expand production of its first vertical axis wind turbine and to develop its other wind turbines.
Quiet Revolution’s flagship product, the ‘qr5,’ is a 6 kW triple-helix wind turbine five meters high and three meters wide and meant to be installed on rooftops. The turbine uses three S-shaped blades, which the company says can capture lower wind speeds and wind that changes directions frequently. That means it can deliver 20 to 40 percent more energy than a traditional turbine, the company says. The turbine has also been designed to be quiet and only has one moving part, so it can be maintained with less frequent checkups.
Quiet Revolution says its has sold and installed about 30 qr5’s and is in the process of installing another 45. The turbine itself ain’t cheap at £25,000. But then there’s also the installation costs of £3,000 to £6,000 per turbine, turbine controls that cost £4,600, and the cost of the mast, which can run between £2,950 – £5,150 depending on the size. The qr5 isn’t really meant for a home owner; most of its customers are energy developers, governments and schools.
Beyond the qr5, Quiet Revolution says it is working on a smaller, two-and-a-half-meter high ‘qr2.5,’ which will produce 3,000 and 4,500 kWh, and a larger 12 meter-tall ‘qr12,’ which will generate between 45,000 and 55,000 kWh. The company will start producing the qr12 in 2009 and early 2010 and the qr2.5 in mid-2010. On the lighter side, the company also makes a “display” version of its qr5 turbine, which uses LEDs embedded in the blades, producing the effect of a “video screen that appears to hang in the air.”
While Quiet Revolution has a sleek design and some new money in the bank, there’s a variety of small wind turbine makers that have been ramping up as of late. Reno, Nev.-based Mariah Power makes a 30-foot tall, $4,000 turbine. Marquiss Wind Power recently raised $1.3 million for its uniquely designed small-scale rooftop wind turbines. Helix Wind makes another double-helix vertical-access wind system. And Southwest Wind Power has been selling its small-scale wind hardware for two decades, with more than 100,000 turbines sold to date.