ADELANTO -*- A local research and development company is advancing a new technology that could revolutionize the wind-farm industry. The Adelanto-based defense and aeronautics company Exquadrum is working on an innovative wind turbine that could cost much less than — and outpower — the largest existing wind turbines.
“It’s a radically new approach to building wind turbines,” said Kevin Mahaffy, CEO and co-founder of Exquadrum. “We were able to greatly reduce the amount of drag that tends to slow the blades and is the force that wants to keep it from spinning. And we can make the blade of the windmill very low-cost because of this mechanical design.”
Exquadrum calls the new wind turbine the Orbital Track Turbine, and it has a very different look than the common horizontal-axis wind turbine, such as the one with three white blades Adelanto residents see rotating outside the city’s correctional facility. This new turbine has vertical blades that swirl in a circular orbit on rollers around the turbine’s core.
The design transfers the load of the wind’s force to the tower, so that the composite blades can be made more lightweight and less expensively than the horizontal-axis turbines, said Eric Schmidt, vice president of engineering for Exquadrum.
The design could feasibly be used to build a wind turbine as large as an Empire State building — “Not that we intend to do that, necessarily,” Schmidt said with a smile.
Exquadrum’s goal is to build a wind turbine that could pump out 15 megawatts of power, which would supply more power to farms than any other turbine on the market. The biggest wind turbine now, located in Germany, only pumps out about 6 megawatts, Mahaffy said.
The 15-megawatt wind turbine could produce enough electricity to power nearly 4,000 homes, Mahaffy said. It would have to be proportionately large — about 2,500 feet in diameter, he said.
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