Hawaii Patent of the Month – July 2023

Wind energy is a growing option in the bid for renewable energy. Most modern wind turbines are designed with 3-bladed rotors and can produce approximately 1.6 megawatts of electrical power. Generally, a turbine will start producing power in winds of about 5.36 meters/second and reach maximum power output at about 12.52-13.41 meters/second (28-30 miles per hour). Changing the pitch of the blades can adjust the power output based on wind direction and speed. High wind environments can lead to turbine blade damage. As a result, being able to “close” or fold in the blades is desirable.

Natural Power Concepts, Inc. is meeting this market demand, designing a wind turbine with folding blades. The ability to deploy and retract the blades increases efficiency and versatility, protecting the turbine in high winds and simplifying transportation. 

The wind turbine comprises a support structure with an axis of rotation, a generator, and a set of blades. These blades are uniquely designed to be movable between a retracted position, where they are parallel to the axis of rotation, and a fully deployed position, where they are perpendicular to the axis of rotation. By connecting the blades to the generator, the rotation induced by the wind generates electricity. Moreover, the provision of electricity to the generator causes the blades to rotate, ensuring a continuous power supply.

The turbine is designed with two distinct retraction protocols. The first protocol involves slowing down the rotation of the blades, resulting in a reduction in centrifugal force. As the rotation slows, the blades naturally transition towards the retracted position. This protocol is typically executed when the turbine is rotating in ambient wind conditions.

The second retraction protocol takes a unique approach by rotating the blades in the opposite direction to that induced by the wind. This counter-rotation helps retract the blades when the turbine is not rotating in ambient wind conditions. By combining electrically induced rotation and wind-induced rotation, this method ensures efficient and reliable retraction of the blades.

With a focus on sustainability and renewable energy, Natural Power Concepts is set on eliminating the disastrous long-term impact the utilization of carbon-based fuel is now having on our planet. By combining intelligent design and renewable energy sources, they are paving the way for a greener and more efficient future.

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