March 5, 2007

Sustainable Energy Technologies teams with Zephyr on residential-scale wind turbines

Sustainable Energy Technologies (SET) is joining forces with Tokyo-based Zephyr Corporation ( to bring a next-generation small wind turbine to Canada. Described as "the iPod of wind turbines," the AirDolphin Mark Zero is an ultra-light, ultra-quiet residential-scale wind turbine developed to meet the energy needs of a small home.

Incorporating many new innovations, the AirDolphin turbine is capable of capturing wind energy through a range of operating conditions and is more efficient than large-megawatt-scale turbines, says Zephyr. In particular, it can track and capture the higher energy in short-lived wind gusts, enabling it to improve its overall power output.

SET has been working with Zephyr for several months to develop a prototype 2.5-kilowatt (kW) inverter which will connect the AirDolphin turbine to the power grid with optimum conversion efficiencies. The inverter was also designed to enable the turbine to operate as a battery charger, providing backup power during grid blackouts. The company has been testing the combination at the University of Calgary since September 2006, and both partners say they are pleased with the performance of the inverter, especially in terms of its ability to track the output of the turbine for optimal energy production.

The inverter builds on SET's Sunergy platform for solar power and incorporates proprietary software recently developed under a contract with the U.S. Air Force. This, says the company, makes the platform interchangeable between grid-interactive and grid-independent operations.

SET's agreement with Zephyr also gives the Calgary, Alberta-based firm the rights to distribute the inverter/turbine bundle in Canada, thus serving as a test market for North America. The company intends to find a major distributor to act as a partner to bring the bundle to the Canadian market. The best "first market" application will most likely be grid-interactive backup power for cottages and residential acreages, especially in locations where environmental factors have caused more frequent blackouts. In such applications, the batteries will meet critical energy needs, e.g. for furnaces, refrigeration, core lighting and security, during blackouts.

Although the first application of the new inverter is for the AirDolphin, it has been designed to support other wind turbines and solar modules as well. Its high electrical conversion efficiencies allow the system to operate on a stand-alone basis, or in tandem with batteries as part of a grid-interactive backup power source. The inverter can be adapted to optimize the output characteristics of a range of small turbines, and can be scaled from 2.5 kW to 5 kW or operated in tandem to serve larger-scale power ratings and battery banks.

More information is available from Michael Carten, president and CEO, Sustainable Energy Technologies, 403/508-7177, ext 111, FAX 403/205-2509, E-mail, Web site

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