Sirocco Energy’s Ukrainian team designed a wind turbine capable of transforming wind energy into power not somewhere out there in the field but where people need it the most – in the city. It may significantly accelerate Ukraine’s advance toward clean energy.
How the EU helps Ukraine tackle climate problems
Presently, the share of alternative energy in the structure of Ukraine’s power system is approximately 4%, but according to the Energy Strategy of Ukraine, this figure must increase to 25% by 2035.
To achieve this goal, projects aimed to bring Ukraine closer to the “green” future are financed in Ukraine every year.
As part of FINTECC Program financed by the EU and implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Climate Innovation Vouchers enable Ukrainian companies to receive grant-based financing of projects helping reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and production intensiveness. Greencubator CSO is responsible for implementing and administering the voucher scheme.
In 2016, Ukraine became the first country in Europe to launch the Climate Innovation Voucher Program.
This program allows Ukrainian companies to receive non-repayable financing for projects aimed to reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and resource-intensive production processes.
During the past two years of this program, 30 Ukrainian companies working on reducing harmful environmental impact received grants worth the total of EUR 966 thousand. Every company received a grant ranging from 20 to 50 thousand euros to develop their business ideas.
We spoke to one of the winners of this program, Sirocco Energy – a company which created a flat wind turbine that could be installed in an open area between apartment buildings, near business centers and supermarkets, etc.
How the idea of a wind turbine was born
According to Sirocco Energy Chief Operating Officer Taras Vodianyi, the idea to create this device was conceived by Oleksandr Pryimak.
“If we are talking about the use of wind turbines in the field, there is one flow out there which has one direction. In urban and suburban conditions, this flow breaks up among buildings. As a result, one wind flow contains many small flows running in different directions,” Taras explains.
“That’s why, if we install a small version of a large three-blade wind turbine in the city, it won’t rotate there at all or will perform poorly.”
In addition, these wind turbines cannot be erected close to humans because of vibration, ultrasound and aerodynamic noise.
Oleksandr has long been nursing the idea of how to design a wind turbine without these deficiencies, studying experience of companies manufacturing these devices. In the fall of 2016, the inventor’s idea brought him and his partner Taras to the final of ClimateLaunchpad contest in Odesa.
ClimateLaunchpad is the world’s largest contest of business ideas related to clean technologies and a part of Climate-KIC, another program financed by the European Union. And although they did not win the contest, they were still able to draw substantial interest to their project and receive the first grant. With this money, the team built the first prototype.
What makes the Sirocco Energy wind turbine special
“Thanks to the larger number and different movement principle of blades, our power generator works much better and more efficiently in urban conditions. A blade runs along a track, not rotates around its axis, and therefore, vibration level is much lower than in regular wind turbines. The aerodynamic noise is much lower, too, which means that we can use these devices near people and close to cities,” Taras Vodianyi explains.
People often ask about the difference in effectiveness between wind turbines and solar panels. And even though the installation cost of a solar panel could be twice as lower, a Sirocco Energy wind turbine generates approximately twice as much electricity with the same rated capacity.
Another important point: if a wind turbine generates, say, 100 kWh with the wind speed of 3 m/sec, when the speed increases to 4 m/sec it would generate approximately 180 kWh. That’s the difference of 80%.
This energy is enough to meet the needs of an average one-room apartment during 18 days. Therefore, if we can find a place that has this “additional” meter of speed, the turbine will pay itself back almost twice as faster, Taras stresses.
According to Mrs. Vodianyi, the effectiveness of good wind turbines is approximately 30-40%: “A simulation test showed that our device has 52% effectiveness. This is a fantastic result. At first, we could not believe in it themselves, double- and triple-checking our calculations, but it turned out to be so,” he explains.
As a separate service, Sirocco Energy also installs meteorological stations on customer premises for 3-12 months to test wind speed.
How they managed to get into the Climate Innovation Voucher Program
“We applied to the Climate Innovation Voucher Program with innovations that could help fight climate changes in the world. The grant we won will help expedite the product’s launch,” Sirocco Energy Chief Operating Officer explains.
The Climate Innovation Voucher Program from Greencubator has not only provided financial support but also helped the innovation enter the international market faster.
“Back then, we badly needed it, because thanks to the grant, we were able to engage big-time specialists to help us with development, simulation and adaptation of our product,” Taras explains.
Thanks to this program, the team has designed a 5 kW wind turbine and is ready to launch the production. In the meantime, Sirocco Energy is testing its product in Ukraine.
During the two years of the Climate Innovation Voucher Program’s existence, Ukrainian businesses demonstrated a huge potential for the implementation of ideas helping reduce adverse impact on the environment. Therefore, thanks to innovations and support they received, Ukrainian companies are launching new, eco-friendly technologies in the European and global markets, thus making a direct contribution to the fight against climate change.
This article was prepared with the support from the European Union as part of EU4Energy Initiative. The content of this article is the sole responsibility of its author, and in no way it reflects views of the European Union.
By Uliana Bukatiuk