The small wind industry in its early-stage birth pangs, and it’s a bit like the Wild West: Little or no policing, and advertising claims are often highly inflated. Trouble is, with no industry certification, few buyers ever learn what they’re NOT getting.
It’s the same with turbine quality. Any turbine undergoes enormous wind and weather stress and, all too often, they just don’t hold up and require constant repair. But, what good is a turbine that isn’t reliable?
Well, we see things differently, and Sauer is going in a different direction.
FIRST, we’ve chosen to go with the vertical technology, not horizontal. The design is extremely energy-efficient, and lends itself to all kinds of further technological advances — many of which are being incorporated into our WindCutter model.
SECOND, we’ve chosen to meet all the standards of the Small Wind Certification Council. Apart from making us “look good” when marketing WindCutter, this certification will qualify buyers for significant government incentives.
Bottom line, the small wind industry — for homes, rural and small commercial use — has almost unlimited potential, especially with the introduction of lithium batteries. Sauer Energy is on the ground floor of something great, and we aim to be seen as the gold standard.
Now for some background on testing and certification.
Path to becoming the first certified vertical axis wind turbine
The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) is an independent, third-party organization. It evaluates wind turbines based on American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) standards, as well as adhering to IEC standards. IEC stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission, which is a globally-recognized group that sets engineering standards for just about everything, including wind turbine design.
Before Sauer Energy could begin this process, our WindCutter had to go through 18 months of strenuous in-house R&D, completing over 500 hours of testing in real-world conditions. (Much of it was carried out at our local municipal airport.)
CAD models and simulations aid in the process and validate results, but that’s not enough. And there’s no substitute for being able to test the structure, performance and safety features — over and over, dozens and dozens of times — in live, real-time performance, while matching and calibrating other components to the turbine. Everything has to be synchronized.
Anyway, upon certification, the WindCutter will qualify for the 30% federal rebate and will be able to proudly hold the title of first VAWT to ever meet the AWEA standards. Apart from performance, the certification process includes two categories.
1. Strength and Safety
Stress and fatigue analysis of a wind turbine is critical, especially for a vertical turbine because there is so much rotating mass. That’s why we contracted with ATA Engineering to provide this analysis. They are an SWCC-approved engineering consulting firm that provides innovative solutions through testing and analysis. Their staff is highly qualified, and thus perfect to validate WindCutter’s strength.
Our turbine will be evaluated by using a thorough aero-lastic modeling process. This includes ‘structural finite element analysis’ (FEA) programs to determine any areas of concern, then evaluates them through a variety of tests.
As of now, the turbine has already been instrumented, with various strain gauges being used to measure net-driving torque, and also to separately measure airfoil-induced torque vs. strut drag.
This data has been correlated to the aero model for the most accurate analysis possible.
The only items left are to perform are both operational and non-operational analysis and life-estimation. These specific tests are laid out by the IEC and SWCC, specifying that a turbine must have a 20-year life expectancy.
But we didn’t stop there …
The WindCutter is the first VAWT to utilize a mechanical disc brake system with redundant brake calipers. It can be shut down either by mechanical wire or remotely from up to 100+ feet away. The turbine also features a microprocessor that controls the brakes in the event of winds over 50 mph, or at over 250 rpms. This provides an extra layer of safety, over the already built-in electronic brakes that kick in first.
2. Acoustic Noise
Obviously, nobody wants a noisy turbine, and this aspect has received a lot of attention from our engineers. The turbine has been gone over and over, to make sure that every little squeak and noise has been addressed and silenced.
We are confident that the WindCutter’s triple bearing system (for stability) will make it one of the quietest turbines ever manufactured — maybe the absolutequietest.
The entire certification process can be seen in two ways.
FIRST, the final ‘sealed and delivered’ official paperwork — from the SWCC — will be needed before anyone who buys a WindCutter can be eligible for the 30% federal rebate. That won’t be until towards the end of the year, and there’s nothing we can do to hasten this process. However …
SECOND, we will get an unofficial OK much sooner, perhaps in a couple of months. This will tell us that all the parts that comprise our turbine have met SWCC and IEC standards, and we can start manufacturing the various pieces FOR FOREIGN SALES. (Not eligible for U.S. federal rebates, obviously, thus a lack of official certification would be irrelevant.)
So, yes, we definitely plan to be marketing and manufacturing well before we get the official certification from the SWCC.
I hope this sheds some light on our progress. It’s been slow — no question — but we’ve chosen this route to ensure that WindCutter will be the most reliable, highest-performing turbine in the small-wind industry.
How Sauer Energy will grow
Three things to keep in mind …
FIRST, wind energy is the world’s fastest-growing alternative energy — and the greatest untapped market within that field is ‘small wind,’ which is just getting started. Sauer will be at the epicenter of this huge growth.
SECOND, we’re also at the start of a huge period of consolidation, and all those quick-buck wind-energy entrepreneurs will fade from the scene. In their place? Solid companies with highly reliable, super-efficient wind-turbines that just keep going, and going and going. (Just like the old Volkswagen bugs!)
THIRD, new wind-turbine technologies and lithium batteries will revolutionize ‘small wind’ and here, too, Sauer Energy will be a leader. You want proof? We built and equipped our new facility because we plan to build and sell a LOT of WindCutters!
Staying in touch …
Now it’s going to get interesting, both for Sauer Energy and the entire small wind industry.
Wind energy has become the fastest-growing alternative energy ... 'small wind' is ready to take off ... and Sauer is well-positioned to play a leading role. A lot is happening, and we want to keep you in the loop — please watch for our letters every couple of weeks or so.
It won’t always concern Sauer Energy directly — it may just be about ‘small wind’ in general — but if I think it’s interesting, I’ll pass it on. Remember, we’re all part of an historic revolution with profound investment implications, and you should know what’s going on.
Finally, I also want you to know that we value your support more than you could ever imagine. Without our shareholders we wouldn’t exist, and that’s the literal truth. You’ve been patient with us for so long, and now we want to show our appreciation through performance and real growth.
Thank you so much, from all of us here at Sauer Energy!
President & CEO