I have been remiss in posting about the Renewable Energy Roundup. We had a great time and saw a couple new products and trends I want to tell you about. If you missed my blog on last year's show, read it here. It will give you an idea of the full show. What I'll cover below is new items for 2009.
This is a new idea on wind energy. On a normal windmill the generator is in the center so the wind speed has to be 7 to 9 mph before the blades move against that much friction. This product has a free-spinning wheel with the magnets enclosed on the outer ring. No friction. That lack of friction allows this windmill to generate energy in a 2 to 3 mph wind instead of the faster speeds. It also can be mounted on your roof, the side of your house, or up on a pole like a standard windmill. The price point on this is about $5,250. You'd want to examine your annual needs to see if this would pay back for you. I was reading the stats and it seemed to say that this product can produce up to 2,400 kwh per year in a good wind. We use 22,000 per year at our house. So this is not a huge dent in our usage. At 13 cents per kwh, it would take us 16.8 years to pay back the investment. So, we're still searching for ideas. As these new systems come out we'll have more cost effective options.
This is a new design in wind energy that uses 3 vertical blade to turn a base generator. It's a very elegant design and should win some award. But the price tag was very high which makes me question the return on investment. This is offered by Aquilo Power. You might ask for current pricing to see if they're more affordable.
More electric cars are coming. A full-range electric car has an electric engine powered by batteries which are charged either by plugging in the car at night or by a small gasoline engine. Unlike a hybrid, the gasoline engine never turns the drive train but simply charges batteries.
Many of you have heard of the Chevy Volt which will be here in 2010.
What is news is the new Nissan Leaf. It should be priced more competitively than Volt which will make it more accepted in the market place.
One of best things Toyota did was price Prius under $25,000 so people could afford them. They produced them in large enough numbers to allow market saturation. I hope Nissan and GM do the same thing with these new cars.
Toyota just announced that there will be a plug-in Prius in 2010 which will extend their lead in hybrid production.