After decades of development, product designers from McCamley UK  have released a prototype of a new wind turbine designed for the small spaces and changing wind speeds of cities. The turbine can be built in sizes ranging from a tiny 1 kW model to a megawatt of capacity. It also packs flat for easy shipping, and can quickly be assembled and installed on a rooftop without a mast.

The vertical-axis design, compared to the standard horizontal design seen at wind farms, means the turbines take up less space. They can also run at very low wind speeds, and continue to work at high, gusting speeds. Traditional turbines rely on a steady wind speed, and don’t work as well in urban environments. The new design can be used in both cities and rural locations. Because of the design of the blades, it’s also much quieter than traditional wind power, and less likely to impact wildlife.

Assembling the flat-packed turbine on a rooftop.

Students at Keele University, where McCamley’s prototype has been installed, are working on certifying the turbine for microgeneration credits, so businesses that install the turbine can benefit from the UK’s feed-in-tariff. Researchers at Keele are also working on bringing a 12kW model to market, and eventually, much larger sizes. Someday, researchers say, office or residential space could even be incorporated into the design of larger turbines.

Photo credits: McCamley