A new prototype wind turbine, 30 years in the making, and designed for flat-pack shipping and easy assembly, has been erected at Keele University in the UK.

Like other vertical axis turbines, the prototype, designed by McCamley, is particularly well-suited to the gusting winds of inner cities, though the company is quick to point out the design is also suitable for rural installations. The turbine is able to begin rotating during light breezes as modest as 1.8 m/s (4 mph) in speed.

McCamley says the design can be adapted to capacities between 1 and 24 kW, though larger sizes have yet to be realized. The present target is to develop a 12-kW model within the next six months. There are plans afoot to eventually scale the design to turbines of over 1 MW in capacity.

The low starting speeds mean that turbines can be mounted on building rooftops without the need of an additional mast, and McCamley claims the multi-leg design of the turbine reduces the stresses placed on the building's structure. Combined with the turbine's lightweight design, McCamley suggests the need for structure reinforcement can be reduced or negated.

Source: Keele University, McCamley