Cleanfeld turbines – a small wonder in the wind
Mac leads eye-research team
A McMaster University-based network will leadinter-university researchon biomaterials, medicaldevices and drug-deliverydevices that are designedto seek treatment answersto vision problems.Researchers at McMaster,the University o Waterloo,University o Toronto,and Queen’s University inKingston will collaborate onthe project. Private-sectorinvolvement includes 10industry partners who willwork to take new productsto market.The collaboration is called:20/20 - the NationalScience and EducationOphthalmic MaterialsNetwork. Eye-relateddiseases, such asglaucoma and maculardegeneration, are agrowing health concernas much o Canada’spopulation ages.
As wind turbines go, they’re a somewhat odd shape,they’re relatively small and they are almost unobtrusive.Which is why a lot o attention is blowing their way.The V3.5 vertical-axis turbines made by CleaneldEnergy can sit on top o a roo or a ground mount, catchwind rom any direction, and operate with a minimumo audible noise. Favourable reviews – the company waschosen a ‘Mind to Market’
nalist last year in an OntarioCentres o Excellence competition – have led to sales inCanada, the U.S., Europe, and even China.
“We’ve done about 50 sales and installations,” sayspresident and CEO Tony Verrelli. “But our pipeline issubstantial so we have a backlog which is increasingin revenues.” With recent regulatory approval o itsV3.5 turbine inverter by UL (Underwriters Laboratory),the company expects the U.S. soon to be “our primarymarket”, he said. In the U.S., investment tax creditsloom large or buyers o small turbines as the Obamagovernment pushes green energy initiatives andgreater energy sel-reliance.Located in an Ancaster industrial park, Cleaneld hasavoided the NIMBY syndrome with its discreet systems– although talk at the provincial level o setbackrequirements rom residential areas, a limit normallyimposed on large-tower turbines, is unnerving. Theunits are small enough that installations can start at$45,000 or so, including turbine, mounting, inverterand any required drawings.In the Hamilton area, Cleaneld turbines can be oundon the roo at Mohawk College’s campus in StoneyCreek and at the technology park at Highways 5 and6. Cleaneld is also looking to larger turbine products,to exploitation o a 250 kW universal inverter (makingelectricity grid-riendly by converting it rom direct toalternating current), and to development o nanowiresolar technology.But or now, the 3.5 kW units remain the bread and butterocus. The OCE believes that, “under avourable conditions”,a Cleaneld unit can provide 9,000 kW over a year. I anaverage Ontario home consumes about 10,000 kW a year,that means Cleaneld’s turbines might provide more than80 per cent o that home’s needs.While the company – the operating arm o a publicly tradedenterprise on the TSX Venture Exchange based in Vancouver– has its own in-house and also contract engineeringexpertise, Cleaneld has partnered with public-sectorresearchers at universities, the National Research Council,and Ontario Centres o Excellence as it moves throughdesign stages and wind tunnel testing. McMaster Universityhas been a longtime research and development partner.
“This is a great place to be because we’ve got a great universitypartner there,” says Verrelli, part o a management teamthat holds a stake o just over 25 per cent in the company.“McMaster has some outstanding proessors and students.”
It is with OCE’s photonics centre and McMaster’sengineering physics people that Cleaneld is working on thecommercialization o semiconductor nanowire photovoltaicstechnology in solar cells. Verrelli believes the company maybe at least ve years away rom a commercial solar product.But the idea is to reduce the cost o solar power by usingsemiconductor nanowires to bump up the eciency ophotovoltaic technology. That would bring such systemscloser in cost line to ossil uels.Nanowires are ultra-thin structures with controlledlengths o one to ve microns and diameters o 10 to100 nanometres (a thousand times thinner than a humanhair). A McMaster 2008 news release noted that, amongadvantages over thin lm and crystal silicon, nanowiresrequired lower-cost substrates and had strong light-trappingand absorption qualities.The company has received investment capital, including romOCE, rom private equity raisings, and late last year rom aprivate placement o about $1 million by a Chinese investor-company.
V3.5 Installation at McMaster Innovation Parkin Hamilton.