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Monday, September 22, 2008

Improving Wind Power From Good To Awesome (Israeli Tech)

(Image: Wind Turbines, Credit: IQWind)

Wind Power (which is a near cousin of the Windmill) is one of the few green energy technologies that is not only "easy" to build, but also does not produce any harmful waste (i.e. like nuclear).

Unfortunately the technology has not always been too efficient, with the blades turning at the same RPM (or revolutions per minute) regardless of how hard the wind blew, giving some the impression that this green technology was full of hot air (note: pun intended).

Instead of simply over looking this issue by creating more wind turbines to compensate for the lack of power generated, it looks as if a company called IQWind has developed a way to allow the turbines to spin following the emotions of the wind by simply changing a few gears.

(Israel 21st Century) "IQWind has solved a painful problem in wind turbines, and allows them to work in an efficient way while significantly reducing the costs. Because when you add our gears in, other components become redundant, and can reduce the price of building a wind turbine by 25 percent," IQwind founder and CEO Gideon Ziegelman, tells ISRAEL21c.

Astorre Modena, a general partner at Jerusalem-based Terra Venture Partners, a major investor in IQWind, adds that the technology is "an elegant, smooth and solid gearbox that allows you to change gears without disconnecting the transmission," he says, noting that "there is much more meat," to the technology's innovation that he can't disclose.

It might not take long to get a sneak peak of IQWind's gears in action: Modena says that the company expects to have a beta test site in Israel - possibly outdoors, or in a lab - within the next six months. It will take another two years before the gearbox goes into production.

While improving efficiency will help make wind power more attractive, its probably IQWind's ability to reduce the construction cost that will draw attention to the industry (and help make it more competitive against coal and natural gas).

Update (9/25): Fixed coding error.

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