Looking somewhat like a Hills Hoist that has come off second best in a tussle with a tornado, the Hercules wind turbine combines cutting edge technology and old world material – wood.
The Hercules Wind Generator, manufactured by Italian firm ENESSERE, boasts an output capacity of 5 kW. The vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) is constructed from titanium, wood (cedar), carbon fiber and stainless steel. The shape of the rotor and sails is the result of extensive aerodynamic studies.
The sails are surprisingly light – weighing just over seven kilograms over a three metre length, a result that puts them on a par with traditional composite materials.
Hercules was designed by Terry Glenn Phipps, who believes believes that anything made, “from a spoon to a city” must be “desirable, functional, efficient, ethically made, and built to last.”
Renato Guerra is a master woodworker who builds the Hercules wings. Nicola Guerra (no relation to Renato) is another master craftsman who builds the stainless steel components, does the finishing of the Titanium elements and manages installations together with his brothers.
As with all vertical axis turbines, energy can be generated regardless of wind direction, an attribute the company says makes it ideal for residential situations where wind direction can vary greatly due to surrounding obstacles – although how neighbours and council may feel about the 7 metre high structure in a back yard is another issue. However, ENESSERE sees Hercules as much a work of art as a clean energy generator.
Creating the power is a 63kg Mecc Alte Eogen 270/16 alternator/generator; designed for a 20 year service life. The inverter is an Aurora Wind unit from Power-One; the same company that manufactures Aurora solar inverters; commonly seen in Australia home solar power installations.
ENESSERE also manufactures the Andromeda Hydrogen Generator, designed to be powered by clean electricity generated from inexhaustible sources such as solar and wind. The company is also collaborating with Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies on the MiniPak, a a universal portable power charger and power extender passive air-breathing fuel cell, able to draw hydrogen stored as solid hydride inside a specially designed cartridge.