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Secret Energy Turbine: rooftop wind power in stealth mode

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February 23, 2010

Two Secret Energy Turbine rooftop turbines

Two Secret Energy Turbine rooftop turbines

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Few people would argue that having a rooftop wind turbine could help offset your power bills. Your neighbors, however, might not appreciate the sight of a windmill on your roof, nor would they like the sound of its blades whistling through the air. Don’t give up on the idea yet, though, because British inventor Rupert Sweet-Escott has come up with a product that he claims addresses those problems. His Secret Energy Turbine (SET) looks like an ordinary chimney stack and is boasts almost completely silent operation.

The SET has vertically-mounted blades, and two opposing magnets to help keep it spinning. As the blades catch the wind and start to spin, they form an airfoil by means of boundary layers. These boundary layers are the same as the layer of air that moves over an airplane’s wings, and the result is a faster-turning turbine. The uneven current it generates gets organized by an electronic load controller, then fed into one or more battery packs for storage. From there, a sine wave inverter converts it to a regular household voltage, and you can use it for whatever you want.

So, just how much energy does the thing produce? It depends on how windy your area is, and the size of your turbine. The SET website has a chart showing approximate energy-generation for the three sizes, which is shown below.

SET power-generation figures

It's claimed that a 400mm SET will generate enough power for the entire lighting circuit of an average household using low-energy bulbs. What isn’t clear is how long it could keep those bulbs lit, but hey, every little bit counts. The turbine requires a wind of at least 8 mph before it starts to produce any current, and has reportedly withstood winds of up to 90 mph.

The SET is available online, and it ain’t cheap. Prices range from the equivalent of $US1,145 for the 300mm model, to $1,716 for the 500mm. You will also need a load controller, one or more batteries, and the services of an electrician. Of course with something like this, it isn’t just about saving money. If the figures are to be believed, a SET could definitely lower your carbon footprint.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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11 Comments

Bilgewater on SECRET power! A steady 10mph wind only yields 12 watts. That's not enough power to light up one GE 25W(75W equivalent) cfl!

A typical european household consumes 388kWh a month (http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/climate-and-energy/solutions/energy-efficiency/12-steps). If the wind blew a steady 10mph every hour of every day that would only equate to 8.5kWh.

TheDuke
24th February, 2010 @ 07:18 am PST

Those dont' look like any chimneys I've ever seen...

Ed
24th February, 2010 @ 02:10 pm PST

Considering the size of the rotor in the pipe, I'm suprised that it could even light a torch. What's this about opposing magnets to keep it spinning? Sounds like a so called magnetic motor. I thought that boundary layers caused drag, but I might be wrong. Why aren't the blades actually aerofoil shaped.

The Duke, regarding the stat about the average home using 388kWh a month, that only amounts to about 13kWh per day. If that is correct, I am going to get my meter checked. My housde seems to use 3 times that amount!

windykites1
26th February, 2010 @ 06:01 am PST

please dump the cfl bulbs at the nearest toxdump!!! You can now buy led, for $5.99 and up, that screw in . My 200 lumen "reader" cost under $20 On the shelf at Fryes and perhaps elsewhere.

For the DIY, its possible to put up a real power plant, especially not that we have super efficient rare earth mags. But hey, here in Wa the compound site is blessed with 360 windy days and 40mph is not uncommon. All I need is a verystrong anchor system and about anything would power us down to the heat pump. Heard about a system they promised soon at the homebuilding outlets, but have not seen it hit there yet.............

comming soon, the products for heaven on earth.......soon, really......

waltinseattle
26th February, 2010 @ 01:57 pm PST

What a joke. Assuming on average 10 hours of 15 mph wind per day, you would generate about 1kwh. at $.10/kwh that is $36.5 per year. So it will take 50 years before this comes close to paying off. If you managed to get 20mph then it would take only 25 years. Yet if you managed 30mph for 10 hours everyday, which I ind absurd, it would still take 6 years to pay this off.

Michael Mantion
8th March, 2010 @ 07:44 am PST

This won't work in many areas. Moreover it is very expensive.

I designed a Vertical Savonius Rotor with Concentrator which can give in 12 mph about 100 Watts and which costs about one tenth of the cost of the device desribed.

In many regions of developing countries the need is to design wind battery chargers which operate in medium to lowe winds and to keep the cost of the system at an affordable level.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh
8th April, 2010 @ 12:09 am PDT

There is nothing special about it except the extremely high price. It is just a savonious with a cage around it. Those magnets are just a gimmick. $1,145 for a generator that will produce about 8 watts per hour. What a rip off! For that price, you can get about 250 watts worth of solar.

Edgar Walkowsky
10th May, 2010 @ 02:01 am PDT

Although some wind energy are not cost efficient, if mass produced the price would come down. The most appropriate energy system for a residence would be a combination of wind, solar and other alternative resources.

Betty Slone-Stone
6th May, 2011 @ 08:33 pm PDT

What ever you do do not buy this product , it does not work we had two on the top of our public house .

They where taken down by the supplier due to they are not fit for purpose he and his company as yet have not given us a refund .

Now taking him to court as he owe's us £10,000

It would also seem that there are other people that have been caught by this man and his company . YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !!!!

Frankie Rowan Short
12th August, 2012 @ 05:12 pm PDT

It looks like fraud. In an industrial nation you would want to get the real thing instead, for instance by buying shares of a 120m wind generator.

Emdenfahrer
8th November, 2012 @ 09:59 am PST

reply to-'Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India'

Large versions of the Cretan SailWind mills (max betz area ,kite drag) would be good for pumping water. For electricity- hydro is actually cheaper using a pelton wheel. The water stored is the battery- one with 'social' benefits. expensive side of electricity is the batteries. Otherpower (feildlines.com) had a link to a russian site with an adjustable versions performance results. it would start to generate at 1.2m/s wind speed. It would need to be pretty big though- ferris wheel size- to be electricity only.

waterwise- a bunch of small pv 'pumps' would work too as flywheel of sorts .diy water pumps would be easy to fix.

I built a sailmill with a bicycle wheel and plastic sheet (5 ft dia. with 4 bamboo spokes wired on-squarish jib sails full radius)-lights 2-3 cd leds with a pc case fan converted to generate(2 phase pulsed dc). takes more than just a breeze-2-3 m/s +/- to flash.

PV is probably cheaper short term (marketing/gluts/etc.) and would go 15 years or so (Warrantied versions- not yard art pumps).

I've always wanted to hook a very very large diameter Tesla blade-less 'pump' to one just to see what it would do.( the 90 deg gearbox would let it set at the bottom of a pond/pool and be large enough to revolve slowly-less parts than a paddle wheel or spiral pipe). don't think it would mind the mud and the muck. zero start-up torque.

Craigslist here in the States usually has 400 W and up gennys advertised 100$ used. I like the tractor pto ones myself-gas powered-the power company grid is cheap $ here compared to the boonies. last thing i read was .28$ off grid vs .11$ grid. grid here is around .14$ . batteries....

sunny side of a mountain is going to be breezy. clear spot a short distance from any sunny lake too. maybe downtown skyscrapers at sidewalk level? a boat on the bay? yard art...???

siting actually seems more important than the rest of it.

clear farm land with large ponds works reasonably as a wind source- size parameters would vary of course. wind effect lake affect snows come to mind.

Kwazai
8th December, 2012 @ 06:05 am PST
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