After three years in development, a sullied business partnership and a significant financial set back, a Coquille woman’s invention — a roof-mounted appliance that generates electricity from wind — will soon reach the market.
Mary Geddry, CEO of Coquille-based Rogue River Winds, said the ultra-efficient, low-profile, sturdy wind turbine with a built-in generator called the V-LIM, is generating interest.
She’s gearing up production. But don’t expect any local manufacturing jobs to spin out of it — at least not anytime soon.
“There just isn’t the infrastructure in Coos County at this time,” she said.
After attempts to get the V-LIM off the ground locally failed, Geddry relocated the project to Portland where a prototype was in the works, before she again relocated it to Cottage Grove where it was completed and may be manufactured.
She said some manufacturers in Alaska and the East Coast have expressed interest in producing it, as well.
So what is it exactly?
Owners of industrial and commercial facilities who want to scale back energy usage can affix the V-LIM atop roofs — where wind velocity is greatest — to generate power to pump back into the grid.
The V-LIM is said to be more efficient than traditional wind turbines in that it produces electricity in winds ranging from light breezes to Class 2 hurricanes, is silent and vibration free even in gusts up to 100 miles per hour. As wind speed increases, so does the turbine’s power output.
It has rapid response steering foils to direct the turbine to face oncoming wind, according to a press release.
It’s about three meters in diameter and is designed for commercial and industrial use.
The unit costs between $125,000 to $150,000.
The price could be split.
If several large facilities within proximity of each other purchase one, they could share the cost savings.
“Our goal actually is to implement them into a microgrid, because that is the most cost effective way to purchase and provide power,” Geddry said.
The V-LIM produces 25 kilowatts on average during wind bursts. Peak energy users can expect a return on investment, in consistently blustery regions, in about three years, Geddry said.
The product has garnered interest from a local nonprofit seeking a new location with plans for a energy-efficient facility.
“We’ve been following her project,” said Patricia Gouveia, director of energy services at Oregon Coast Community Action. “Primarily, we want to develop a sustainable campus and support Coos County businesses, so it seemed like a good match if we can make it happen.”
“For a nonprofit,” she added, “if we can get to the point where we can pay our own energy costs, that’s a huge savings for us.”
Gouveia said they’d seek grant money to fund a project.
From concept to finished product was bumpy road. Geddry had hopes originally to design and manufacture the units locally, creating jobs. But a business partnership with a local entrepreneur fell apart.
“It just wasn’t getting done,” she said of the project. “It wasn’t getting finished and I had to get it finished.”
According to Geddry, every part manufactured here had to be replaced. The turbine has been re-engineered completely, which tripled her original cost projection.
She said the move to Portland was necessary to stay within a budget and timeline.
Geddry, who crafted the unit’s aerodynamic design, recruited brain power from Portland State University to upgrade the efficiency of the mechanism with a high-bandwidth generator.
Electrical engineer and Coos County resident Dr. Stanley Marquiss came on board to design a “plug-in-play” feature, which allows the appliance to configure itself into a facility’s energy system automatically once it’s installed.
Before the V-LIM can officially go on the market, it needs to be certified with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energies Laboratory, a process that could take about six months. In the meantime, Geddry hopes to begin production to meet demand — which may come from the U.S. Department of Defense.
All military bases, Geddry said, must produce 25 percent of energy from alternative sources, such as wind, by 2025.
Talks with the DOD are preliminary at this point, she said, but supplying the government agency with the V-LIM has potential.
“It appears that they would be one of our biggest markets,” she said.
Nate Traylor, The World – http://www.theworldlink.com/articles/2010/02/06/business/winds_of_change_731.txt