Icelandic renewable energy company IceWind is launching its innovative six-bladed wind-powered turbines for home use in the U.S.
Wind now accounts for 7.2% of power generated in the United States, and IceWind says that will be around 20% in less than a decade, by 2030. But most of that is the huge horizontal turbines you see in commercial wind farm applications with blades the length of a 747. All green energy is good — although there are concerns with bird loss — but it’s hardly something a homeowner can install.
The new Freya model from IceWind, which starts at $3,200, is an entirely different design.
“What we have designed over at IceWind is actually a vertical axis wind turbine. The large difference is those big turbines, when wind comes from different directions you either need to use a gearbox to change those blades to face that wind direction, or stop them and change it. Vertical axis wind turbines are omni-directional. We can take wind from any direction.”Samuel Gerbus, one of IceWind’s mechanical engineers.
In addition, the design is safer for home installation — no huge whirling propellor-like blades — and “completely safe” for birds. the company says. They’re also quiet: under 30 decibels of noise.
The other major benefit for home owners who want to supplement their power on-grid or completely power an off-grid cabin is durability. According to Gerbus, the turbines are built to withstand winds of “more than 130 mile per hour winds,” and are sealed against dust, ice, water, or dirt entering the generator.
Made from aluminum and stainless steel, the blades will last significantly longer than those constructed with nylon fiber, steel, plastic, or fiberglass.
The company is, after all, based in Iceland, which is not known for its long summers and gentle weather. While not as cold as some may think, it experiences relatively constant windiness with occasional hurricane winds up to 160 mph.
That’s an extreme example, of course.
You’ll need two or three Freyas to power the typical larger U.S. home. IceWind says it will have a larger-scale model capable of 7 to 12 times that power output at some point in the future.