The author reacts strongly against the support being given to a so-called "radical design" by a Canadian utility. The large turbine in question is known as the Catavent and will not make politicians think well of wind.

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I was shocked, incensed and irritated on reading your recent article on development of the Catavent wind turbine in Canada (Windpower Monthly, July 1995). Some people think they can violate the laws of physics. A huge wind machine like the "radical Catavent 500" will never be able to capture more than 50% of the energy content of the wind. Wind is by nature turbulent and will never enter the quadratic funnels of the proposed system. The wind flows around the tremendous metal structure would produce only interfering drag forces.

And what about the amount of material required for this huge thin sheet accumulation? It may perhaps serve as a work-of-art, but watch out for the forces on this monstrous apparatus if the control mechanism fails to turn it into the wind.

It is not easy for non polluting wind energy to penetrate the political egg heads, let alone the competitive energy market where it has to push aside traditional power technologies. And the task is not made any easier by a utility promoting such an incredible "radical design" solution. It is far more likely that such a project will damage the reputation of wind energy conversion.

P.S. I am a disciple of the legendary Professor Dr. Ulrich Hütter, the late Pope of wind energy.

From Heiner Doerner, Dipl. Ing., Institute for Airplane Construction, University of Stuttgart, Germany.

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