Wind turbines have the potential to be very useful in providing renewable power to remote communities which have little or no infrastructure. Unfortunately, larger turbines tend to require a relatively involved set-up, with specialist gear needed to construct and maintain the turbines. The Portable Power Center (PPC) by Uprise Energy innovates in this regard by providing a self-contained unit which folds within a shipping container, and can be transported by truck.
The PPC is rated as a 50-kilowatt (kW) turbine, and San Diego-based Uprise Energy states that it puts out enough power to provide electricity to up to 15 average U.S. homes during 12 mph (roughly 20 km/h) winds, with that number increasing to 71 homes in 20 mph (32 km/h) winds. Each of the turbine blades are 21 ft (6.5 meters) long, and when operational, the entire height of the machine is around 80 ft (24 meters), with a weight of roughly 12,000 pounds (5,300 kg).
The PPC features an Energy Conversion System (ECS) – essentially a proprietary on-board computer which monitors local weather patterns and adjusts itself to best capture the wind, rotating a full 360 degrees when necessary. The ECS adjusts blade pitch and speed, and if the wind becomes too strong, it will park the rotor and lay the mast down to avoid damage. Further to this, the ECS stores excess energy so that when the wind is low, the machine draws on the stored power, ensuring a constant supply of power.
Uprise Energy CEO Jonathan Knight told us that if the machine sees an average wind speed of 12 mph (20 km/h) over a 20 year period, the power it produces will work out at around $0.10 for each kilowatt per hour.
The PPC is still in development at the moment, but when it is released, complete units are expected to be available for US$240,000.