Shifting winds - Early-stage Seattle startup aims for the most affordable electricity from the wind

TOMKAT CENTER - STANFORD UNIVERSITY | Wind turbines can turn on a horizontal axis, like an airplane propeller, or on a vertical axis, like an eggbeater. Forty years ago, the vertical style fell out of favor, but a venture with links to Stanford believes the technology is worth a second look.


So far, they indicate their prototypes are as efficient as utility-scale turbines and on par with the cost of rooftop solar, bringing the technology within reach for communities and businesses. In addition, they see other benefits compared to horizontal-axis turbines. Manufacturing the vertical-axis blades is simpler, and transporting, installing, and decommissioning them is easier. The technology could even go out to sea; XFlow Energy is participating in a multi-year study with ARPA-E to examine the feasibility of ocean wind farms.

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