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Canada

Vertical axis for off grid market -- VAWT certified

Canadian company Sustainable Energy Technologies of Calgary has received an international certificate of compliance for the design of its 250 kW vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), the Chinook 2000. The certificate was granted by Germanischer Lloyd of Germany, an independent company offering quality assurance in accordance with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. Sustainable Energy Technologies project manager Glen Schlyter says the machine is the first Canadian turbine to be internationally certified. The recognition, he says, demonstrates the potential of the Darrieus-type vertical axis design. "That's one of the reasons why the certification is important for us," says Schlyter. "So we can show people we went up against the same standard, and we've met the same standard."

Schlyter concedes there are few "commercial displays" of VAWT technology, but points out the benefits of the design's simplicity. It is easily transported, can be installed without heavy equipment, houses its electronic components on the ground for easy access and can be operated and maintained with basic electrical and mechanical skills.

"Probably our best markets are going to be in remote areas or for off-grid generation," he says. "We're looking at places like islands in Oceania, the Mediterranean, islands in the Caribbean and areas in Canada's north where there's a lot of diesel power. We're also looking at the future of diesel-wind hybrid systems."

While the Chinook 2000 exists only on paper, Schlyter says Sustainable Energy is "securing funding" to build two prototypes. The company's design research can be traced back to 1993 and eight 150 kW vertical axis turbines built in southern Alberta, direct predecessors of the Chinook 2000.

This wind farm, and a contract to sell power to an Alberta utility, are now assets of Sustainable Energy, which started working with the previous owner, CWT Technologies, last year. The company completed an acquisition of CWT in March. Schlyter says the older machines, which have stopped running, will likely be torn down to make way for six of the newer models once funding is in place. "We decided to take all our resources and funnel them into getting the certification," he says. "Our plan right now is to finish writing our project plans for the construction of the prototypes. That's going to be our primary effort."

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