Captivating modular wind turbine wall set for customer trials

Airiva Wind Energy System
Customer trials for pre-production Airiva units are scheduled to begin in the latter half of this year. Images courtesy Airiva

Designer Joe Doucet, known for his innovative approach to energy solutions, has been working on an ambitious project since 2021. This project, now known as Airiva, is a modular rotary wind turbine wall designed for installation on urban buildings and infrastructure. The concept, which aims to generate renewable energy through an array of vertical-axis turbines, is set to enter customer trials later this year.

The evolution of Airiva

The initial concept introduced in 2021 involved a wall of 25 vertical-axis turbines, each connected to a generator, promising a total peak power output of 10 kilowatts. While the potential daily energy production was estimated to be 240 kWh, real-world conditions suggested that this figure might be significantly lower. The intermittent nature of wind, combined with the efficiency limitations of vertical-axis turbines compared to their horizontal-axis counterparts, led to a more realistic estimate of around 84 kWh per day.

Over the past few years, Doucet and his team have made significant advancements in the design and functionality of these turbines. They experimented with 16 different blade configurations, gradually narrowing down their options to four, then two, and finally settling on a helical design. This iterative process has resulted in the current Airiva system, which consists of sizable turbine units. Each unit comprises two 2.1 x 2.1 x 1.05-meter segments along with an end hub unit that houses the controls, communications, and power management systems.

Energy production and practical applications

Each Airiva unit contains eight turbines and is capable of producing approximately 2,200 kWh annually. While this may not seem like a large amount of energy in the grand scheme, it can contribute significantly to reducing domestic energy bills. For context, an average-sized home in the United States would need five Airiva units to meet its entire electricity needs. However, this requirement translates to a substantial installation footprint, making residential use less practical on a larger scale.

Airiva Wind Energy System Use Cases
Due to its substantial footprint, Airiva is better suited for large-scale installations along highways, bridges, campuses, airports, harbors, and transport hubs.

Instead, the primary market for the Airiva system appears to be commercial and industrial applications. Multiple units can be linked together to form extensive installations along highways, bridges, company campuses, university grounds, airports, harbors, and various transport hubs. This modular and scalable design allows for integration into a wide range of environments, bringing renewable energy generation closer to where it is needed most.

Integration and design

Joe Doucet emphasizes that Airiva is more than just a functional energy solution; it is designed to blend seamlessly with modern urban and suburban landscapes. The contemporary frame and elevated design make it a visually appealing addition to buildings and infrastructure, potentially aiding in the adoption of renewable energy solutions in populated areas.

Airiva Modular Vertical Wind Turbines
The mesmerizing Airiva system is intended to work alongside other renewable energy technologies, rather than compete with them.

“Airiva is a modular, scalable, and smart wind energy system consisting of an array of vertical wind turbines within a contemporary frame,” Doucet explained in a recent LinkedIn post. “The elevated design plays a meaningful role in adoption and integrates within the architecture and infrastructure of our urban and suburban landscapes to bring clean energy closer to where we live and work.”

Looking ahead

As of now, Airiva is still in the prototyping stage, but customer trials are expected to begin in the second half of this year. The company aims to open order books in 2025, offering a new avenue for distributed energy resources. Although specific pricing information has not been disclosed, Airiva’s website mentions that the system’s targeted Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) is competitive both domestically and internationally compared to other small-scale distributed energy resources. The upcoming pilot programs are anticipated to provide the data needed to support these claims.

Airiva Wind Energy System Segments
Each Airiva unit consists of two segments, each housing four vertical turbines.

In conclusion, Airiva represents a promising step forward in urban wind energy solutions. Its innovative design, scalability, and integration potential make it a compelling option for cities looking to adopt renewable energy technologies. As customer trials commence, more detailed information about its performance and cost-effectiveness will become available, paving the way for broader implementation in the years to come.

Airiva Wind Energy System Commercial Building
Airiva units installed on a commercial building, illustrating their potential integration into urban infrastructure for renewable energy generation.

Source: Airiva