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A novel shrouded vertical axis wind turbine for power generation in buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WindiBox (A novel shrouded vertical axis wind turbine for power generation in buildings)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2018-11-30

The project focuses on the WindiBox device, a novel shrouded wind turbine for power generation in buildings of the urban environment. Currently, wind is being exploited in a mass production scale using gigantic horizontal axis wind turbines through private companies or the government. Our vision is to offer an end-user product suitable for installation in buildings, so that the users can be benefited by wind energy in urban environments. Its geometry makes it ideal for installation in buildings since it does not degrade aesthetics. WindiBox uses advanced aerodynamics to augment the inlet wind and power, by improving the rotational speed of the wind turbine by 2.3-2.8 times, compared to a standalone aftermarket wind turbine of the same size which consequently results to significantly higher power production.
WindiBox aims in the reduction of energy expenses of large-scale buildings such as apartment blocks, industrial and commercial buildings, hotels and more, and to also minimize CO2 emissions within the urban environment. The overall purpose of this project was to identify existing competition and update our business and marketing models, as well as to study and evaluate the financial viability and potential commercial success in large markets, with a feasibility report as the end deliverable.
The first main objective was to perform a market feasibility study through data acquisition and quantification of the existing small-scale wind turbine market, end-user studies, market segmentation, business model canvas and five forces, and analysis of relevant certification requirements.
The second main objective was to carry out a technical feasibility study in order to finalise WindiBox’s dimensions based on the market analysis results and taking into consideration the integration of all components and the ease of assembly. In addition, within the scope of the technical feasibility was to assess and finalize the material selection, compile a bill of materials and estimate the production costs of WindiBox.
The third main objective was to update the initial business plan and to prepare a detailed dissemination and commercialization plan.
In the framework of WindiBox SME Phase 1, initially a thorough market study was employed. The study includes data with regards to the existing small-scale wind turbine market, identification of potential target markets/countries as well as assessment of the various regions worth exploring, for a better revenue stream calculation. This was achieved through extensive study of market research reports and official wind energy data and statistics, as well as global wind speed and PV production trends per targeting region/country. Competition analysis and evaluations were conducted during the market research as well. In addition, through focus groups and a user survey within the identified target markets, we managed to acquire vital feedback from 150 responders on their preferences and willingness to invest in WindiBox. Based on the responses and the discussions with energy experts, we are not only convinced about the potentials of our product but for the future of small-scale wind turbines within the urban environment. Further to that, all relevant certification normatives for small-scale wind turbines and procedure steps were examined. Based on the findings, a business model canvas and market forces analysis were conducted.
In addition, a technical study was carried out in order to finalise WindiBox’s dimensions, to define the materials and their properties, and to estimate the production cost. Primary requirements for the finalisation of dimensions were the production rates, the ease of integration for all electromechanical components and the ease of assembly for the complete product. Moreover, the material selection was finalised and the bill of materials was compiled. This was carried out through direct contact with international manufacturing companies and wholesale material suppliers. The findings were used as input to further optimize our estimations for the production costs of WindiBox sub-systems and complete assembly.
Lastly, a detailed and specifically structured business plan was created, including a detailed communication, dissemination and commercialization plan. The business plan was created based on: a) the market study results and the market segmentation, b) the detailed and specifically structured model business canvas, c) the technical report and the production costs, d) sales targets, and e) required investments.
The completed work documented on the feasibility report revealed that no changes need to be performed on the project’s initial objectives and concept approach. The completed work helped us to further improve substantial aspects related to the project impact and particularly the market study, technical details and business approach.
The findings of the feasibility report also revealed that WindiBox can become a leading solution in the wind energy of urban environments. We are looking ahead on employing our conclusive strategies for achieving highly efficient acceptance rates of WindiBox within the targeting markets.
Our upcoming and foremost target is to achieve further support through the SME Phase 2 funding in order to complete the objectives and goals related to the optimization of the final technical aspects of WindiBox, the industrialisation of the product and its certification, the large-scale demonstration and the implementation of all essential communication, dissemination and pre-commercial activities.
WindiBox addresses a clear market need for power generation in buildings, through wind. Currently, the end user market lacks maturity on the utilization of wind energy in buildings, in the form of wind turbines, and this is a true challenge for us. The product’s orientation, based on its explicit design and development, permits a variety of applications to be considered which includes new/existing commercial and industrial buildings, offices and hotels, educational institutes and halls of residence/dormitories, wholesale and retail buildings as well as large-scale apartment buildings. The holisticness of the product marks a new generation of small-scale wind turbine which aims to become a future landmark within the wind energy industry.
The WindiBox product offers a variety of features that extend beyond the current state of the art, with its foremost being the higher production levels. Based on the feasibility study, this parameter, which is directly related to the power electronics, is still subject to further optimization which will be performed through the industrialization phase. In addition, WindiBox eradicates the issue of aesthetic degradation since the device can be installed in the middle or near the edge of the terrace, making it invisible to the public. Furthermore, the specifically designed casing creates a protective shield around the device which protects both its vital components and the environment as well as it prevents human contact. What has been identified through the SME Phase 1 Feasibility Study is that no currently available solution exists offering the benefits of WindiBox both in terms of its socio-economic and environmental benefits.
Through the project’s results, questionnaire and discussions with energy experts and consultants it has also been concluded that the potential impacts are huge, including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project. Expected results relate to the introduction of new renewable technologies through the acceptance and awareness that this project aims to evolve. In addition, the reduction of CO2 emissions that WindiBox ultimately offers will also aid towards the increase in people’s interest resulting in mass induction of renewable technologies within the urban environment affecting the people’s daily habits in favour of our environmental ecosystem.