MAREC project to revolutionize wind power under $2000

MAREC project to revolutionize wind power under $2000

Postby skud » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:05 pm ... 938C8612F9

A small, inexpensive wind turbine developed at Grand Valley State University’s
Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon could revolutionize
home and commercial power generation and create West Michigan manufacturing

The turbine was invented by Imad Mahawili, MAREC’s executive director. Measuring
36 inches in diameter and with a retail cost of around $2,000, the device will
be sold at home improvement stores and generate up to 20 percent of the average
home’s electricity.

“This is a breakthrough wind turbine technology that was developed with specific
focus on low cost of manufacture and high efficiency. These are critical
innovation objectives much sought after in wind technology to reduce both the
installed cost per kilowatt of power and the operating cost per kilowatt hour,”
Mahawili said.

Mahawili’s company, E-net LLC, has licensed the technology to EarthTronics, a
manufacturer of energy efficient lighting products committed to the conservation
of energy and the protection of the environment. “EarthTronics was carefully
selected to take this product to market due to their focus on green technology
and high volume manufacturing. Their local presence and marketing expertise
including international connections are key advantages to the successful launch
of this innovative wind technology,” Mahawili said.

Testing of the product has already started and additional prototypes and
pre-production will be completed immediately. Once the final testing is complete
EarthTronics plans to debut the first working model at several conventions in
September. EarthTronics plans to be in production with product available to the
retail markets by first quarter 2009. EarthTronics currently is located in the
MAREC facility and will debut the new turbine with the move to a new tech
facility being built in downtown Muskegon.

“We believe this product will revolutionize wind technology,” said Reg Adams,
president of EarthTronics. “We will start the process immediately to source
local West Michigan vendors to help support the launch of this project. It will
require a variety of vendors and subcontractors through the next years to come
to complete a full line for the new WindTronics Turbine line. Both Dr. Mahawili
and I are very excited for the opportunity to look at producing a home grown
product here in West Michigan.”

The first of the two new models scheduled for release will target both
residential and commercial markets. A second smaller model is specifically
designed to support third world markets.
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Re: MAREC project to revolutionize wind power under $2000

Postby skud » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:06 pm ... e1204.aspx

Innovation + Job News

December 4, 2008
Lightweight residential wind turbine nears production, brings 68 jobs to Muskegon
By: Deborah Johnson Wood

The WindTronics 760 residential wind turbine goes into production in January, bringing 68 jobs to Muskegon.

The turbine, marketed and produced by Muskegon-based EarthTronics, could revolutionize residential and business alternative energy options because of its small size — just five feet in diameter and weighing only 80 pounds.

Created by Imad Mahawili, executive director of Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, the turbine will produce 15 percent of a typical home’s electricity needs.

“The turbine goes on the market in May,” says Reg Adams, EarthTronics president and founder. “Our first retailer across the nation is Ace Hardware. We’re excited and they’re excited.”

The turbine is a plug and play system that generates power by the blade tip speed rather than shaft speed.

“The tip of the blade has a lot more ground to cover in one rotation than the shaft does” Adams notes. “Speed and blade length are the defining factors in a turbine; you speed up the blade rotation and it generates more power.”

To start, four engineers will head up production. Assembly positions make up most of the remaining jobs. Training will begin in February and March.

The WindTronics 760 will retail for $2,800, uninstalled, and will be available alone or as part of a home energy package that includes the energy efficient EarthBulb, also made by EarthTronics.

EarthTronics will relocate soon from MAREC to the new Hines Building in downtown Muskegon. Adams hopes to install a working WindTronics model on the building.

Source: Reg Adams, EarthTronics

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at
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Re: MAREC project to revolutionize wind power under $2000

Postby skud » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:08 pm

Looks like the product is now the Honeywell Wind Turbine. And a large price increase!!!
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Re: MAREC project to revolutionize wind power under $2000

Postby skud » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:09 pm

Ashley McNees from Altronics Energy was nice enough to take some time away from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about this project since it now is completed and ready for business and residential installation.

Steven Skula : For city residents, can this be installed on their roof or are there any restrictions? The Skystream(r) required at least 1.5 times the area of how tall the mast was, making it very hard for a city residence to get one.

Ashley McNees: This turbine is designed to handle turbulent winds and sudden gusts. The directional fins on either side allow it to automatically adjust to the prevailing winds without the delay created by communicating with a motor. For this reason, our turbine function better on roofs than other gear driven systems. This turbine can be mounted on poles (steel or wood), on roofs (flat or pitched), and even on cell towers. We bring the power to where you use it!

Steve Skula : How much is the cost to install on a roof?

Ashley McNees: Generally a full turbine installation on a roof is around $12-14,000. This is full turn-key. The turbine, inverter, mount, electrical materials, labor, permits … everything.

Steve Skula: How much is the cost to install on a poll?

Ashley McNees: To install on a wood pole the price is very close to that of a roof installation. A steel pole would add an additional $2,000 or so.

Steve Skula: In a typical Grand Rapids month, how many Kw does this produce(we know it varies on wind and this is only an estimate).

Ashley McNees: You can expect to see around 1500 kWh in a year in Grand Rapids. This is what we are seeing on our turbines located in Hudsonville, MI on Altron Automation. So if you averaged it out it would be about 125 a month … however winter has higher wind speeds and more production than the summer time.

Steve Skula: Can more than one be installed to combine power savings?

Ashley NcNees: Yes, you can install as many as you have room for. The ideal situation is 2 turbines grid-tied. We are able to tie two turbines into one inverter, thus saving time on the installation (time = money) and the customer only needs to purchase one inverter (an inverter is around a $2,000 product).

Steve Skula: How much does the power company pay you back for selling the power back to them?

Ashley NcNees: This depends on the power company. Generally, once you have an interconnection agreement between the customer producing the renewable energy and the power company, you will see an offset in your electricity bill monthly. So say your house used 300 kWh in a month, and you produced 100kWh with your turbine … you would be billed for 200 kWh. Typically it is not the entire cost per kWh that you pay (Consumers Energy is right around $.11/kWh) it is a bit less, because the utility company will still charge for the taxes and services they provide. The power you generate will be consumed first. This is the most likely scenario. If a customer has a smaller usage on their building or multiple turbines they can apply for net-metering. At this point, should they produce more than they consume they will see a credit on their utility bill.

Steve Skula: What type of maintenance is needed and how often?

Ashley NcNees: Because this turbine has eliminated the need for gear box, there is very limited maintenance. In the center hub on the turbine there are 2 ceramic bearings that have a life of 5-7 years. These would need to be replaced 3-4 times throughout the turbines lifetime of 20 years. Other than that, there are minor items … for instance, if a storm occurred and one of the polycarbonate blades was cracked, a replacement one could be sent out. All of these repairs should not exceed a couple hundred dollars.

Steve Skula: As of today, are there any federal or state incentives to purchase one and how much are they?

Ashley NcNees: The federal government has a 30% tax credit that is applicable to the entire installed cost. There is also federal depreciation available for profitable businesses.

Onces again I would like to thank Ashley NcNees from Altronics Energy for answer my questions and their website is" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

Now the Skystream is the same cost for install and equipment and from their notes the Skystream with just 7.9 mph of wind can produce the same amount of energy. If you double the wind to 14 mpg, the Skystream can produce over 6000 kWh of power a year. The Skystream does need more room to install making it almost impossible for people living in cities to have it so the Honeywell Wind Turbine would at least give people the chance to utilize wind power. It was disappointing to see how much it cost to obtain a unit when the initial estimates from the MARECs project was around $3000!

Story by Steven Skula
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