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Large Wind Turbines

September 14, 2001
Paul Gipe

Stirring Up a Hornet's Nest: New Turbine Generates Controversy


"We're not a very sophisticated company," Bob Green says humbly. Others agree. The awea-wind-home web site is buzzing with questions about the audacious claims of Green and his company, Thermodyne Systems of Lancaster, California.

According to Green, Thermodyne has built about 70 of the 8-foot diameter turbines in the past eight months. Most have been shipped to Canada and Africa, he says. All for battery-charging.

Though their web site, www.hydrogenappliances.com depicts a hinged tower, Green now says the company no longer provides towers.

Green says he and the company's three employees have built 20 to 30 hydrogen electrolizers in addition to the multiblade wind turbines.

Despite Green's claim that the company has been experimenting with wind "for the past ten years", the firm has yet to master the fundamentals of wind energy.

Green is quick to say that the power promised on the metal shop's web site is "peak" power, and he explains that after they apply the load the "rotor starts slowing down."

As Michael Klemen, a wind experimenter in North Dakota, has noted, the low wind performance of the turbine exceeds reality.

At 5 mph, the web site claims the Hornet will produce 640% of the power available in the wind; at 12 mph, 117%; at 22 mph, 49%; at 28 mph, 35%. The Hornet's performance at 22 mph and 28 mph would make it one of the most efficient small wind turbines ever built--even exceeding the aggressive performance advertised for the Air 403 of 31%. The Hornet's performance at 5 mph and 12 mph is clearly impossible according to our understanding of physical laws governing the power available in the wind.

Such wild claims for the Hornet could come back to sting Thermodyne in litigious California.

 



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