Honeywell Wind Turbine by EarthTronics

I think the Honeywell WT6000 wind turbine sold by EarthTronics  has the opportunity to "blow" open the residential and light commercial market. From the Earthtronics Honeywell WT600 wind turbine website:

The Honeywell Wind Turbine is a gearless, “free wheeling’’ turbine that generates power from the blade tips (where the speed lies) rather than through a complex slow center shaft. By practically eliminating mechanical resistance and drag, the Honeywell Wind Turbine creates significant power (2000 kWh/yr) operating in a greater range of wind speeds (2-45 mph) than traditional wind turbines. The highest output, lowest cost per kWh installed turbine ever made.

The highest output, lowest cost per kWh installed turbine ever made!  Those are some pretty awesome claims, and I hope they're true!

Some of the issues with current residential units are:

  • They require fairly high wind speeds just to kick in (7-12 mph)
  • They are expensive (around 20-30k)
  • They require large mounting pole and structure
  • They require a third party dealer/installer

The Honeywell innovation of having the blade tips generate the power solves most of these problems.  The EarthTronics/Honeywell turbine will be sold at Ace Hardware and will only cost $4,500, pocket change in the world of renewable energy.

The great thing is that this unit will qualify for the 30% Federal tax credit!  It should also qualify for a State tax credit if your State has one and you may also be able to receive a rebate from your utility!  If you need to brush up on incentives check out the Mapawatt post on de-mystifying incentives.

If you would like to seriously look at one of these devices, I would look at the Windgate Energy Generation data sheet they have in the website.  The only thing I will mention is that while EarthTronics markets the turbine kicking in at 2 MPH, it only produces about 6 Watts, which isn't even enough to power a single CFL.  The unit starts producing around 100 Watts once the wind speed makes it up to 10 MPH. The Power vs. Wind Speed curve of the wind turbine can be seen below.

Wind Speed vs. Power curve for Honeywell Turbine

Wind Speed vs. Power curve for Honeywell Turbine

As with all wind turbines, make sure you have adequate wind in your area to make this investment worthwhile.  Refer to this wind resource map by NREL to determine how well your area will perform.

Devices like this make me think we are approaching a tipping point in residential renewable energy.  That point where renewable energy becomes mainstream and buying clean energy is as easy as buying a hammer.

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How can such stupidity get this far? Do the math! 1. I see no wind direction tracking it looks like its fixed. meaning a prevailing wind degradation factor of at least 40%. 2. The height of the wind turbine mounted on a house means a performance degradation factor of over 50% from the standard rated wind speed charts at 30 meters or 90 ft. 3. The close proximity to the ground causes wind shear to degraded the turbines performance, how this is rated is called wiebull factor and most home sites at that height have a class 5 rating meaning another 50% reduction in turbine output at the rated wind speed at 30 meters. 4. Just the due the math, at 30 meters a wind speed rating of 12 mph would equal a real world at turbine wind speed of 12mph x directional degradation factor of 40% = 7.2 mph 7.2 x degradation height factor of 50% would equal an average at turbine wind speed of 3.6 mph now add in the wind shear or wiebull factor at that site of 50% and you have an average at turbine wind speed of 1.8 mph meaning it will never produce any cost justifiable power. Even at best if I bumped the at turbine wind speed up from 1.8 mph to 6 mph over three times what the math says it should be the total yearly kwh electrical output would be only 876 kwh yearly not 1500 as they claim. at 10 cents a kwh that would equal $87.00 yearly of electricity. At a $6,000 install cost and after tax credit cost of $4,200 the payback period would be 47.94 years, the life expectancy of the turbine is only 20 years. This is calculated with output data that I said was 3 times what the math says it should be. 5. A Wind turbine should never be put on the roof of any structure unless it was built for it, the vibration of a wind turbine alone has caused structural failures of buildings, the side force dynamic load must be calculated into the house structural force side dynamic load to assure you don't flex the frame of your home at storm wind speeds. 6.The close proximity of the blades to side of the unit means it could easily stall out and freeze up during the winter months from Icing and snow in cold climate states or from any other contaminating source. 7. Just like all the vertical axis wind turbines I have analysed, they produce no cost justifiable power and should be considered expensive law ornament's.
Industry expert Paul Gipe has already reviewed this product and, as you can imagine, says its full of BS: "There is no substantiation to back up the promoter's claims and the claims themselves are exaggerated." Also of note: "There are no units in use. One turbine has been "tested" in a wind tunnel. Thus, all claims about the product are projecture. Those who have followed the debate about performance measurements of small turbines realize that testing in a wind tunnel is not testing at all. Wind tunnel "tests" are useful only for design not for estimating the performance of the wind turbine in the field. Though no turbines have been tested in the field, Earthronics has hired a public relations company." Something tells me the positive comments on the internet about this product are nothing more than a hired PR firm doing its job..the product and company are clearly shady.
Larry, I'm not here to argue for or against the device, but do feel compelled to note that your financial analysis does not account for any tax credits available that would lower the up front cost.
The power curve for this produce implies that its performance is better than Betz' limit at multiple wind speeds. Really?!?! The website below shows that the Honeywell WT6000 wind turbine is not a great investment. $/RAE of almost $3/kwh.
Yea, I'm a little concerned with some of the data on this product. The site you linked to is an awesome resource for people analyzing small wind turbines. In all reality, there are only a few places that residential wind turbines work. For the majority of America, roof top solar is a better investment. Also, it's much harder to find good wind data for a given city, where its very easy to find the solar data. Does anyone have any good resources for wind data?
At a cost of $4,500. if I currently pay 10 cents per kilowatt hour and this system generates up to 2000 kwhr per year, I might save as much as $200 per year. The return on my investment would be 22.5 years minimum, assuming that nothing breaks down in the meantime! Now if I invested that $4,500 at only 5% per year, I would earn $225 which would more than cover the savings. I think I can wait a while until the price comes down quite a bit more!
Where do you live where a KwH is only 10 cents. I'm currently paying 25 cents per KwH
in a 6 foot diameter area at 2 mph there is not even 6 watts available. There is only 1.18 watts available. the best wind turbines only get about 35% effecincy so we are looking at .4 of a watt. Six watts is completly impossible in a 2 mph wind. That tells me the rest of the chart is completly fabricated to make this gimmick look better.
Russ, what are you basing the "6 watts is impossible in 2 mph wind" statement from? Where did you get the 1.18 number? I remembered an old post I did on <a href="" rel="nofollow">wind power calculations</a> and using the formula Power = .5 * air density *Area * Betz Limit *Velocity cubed * Generator efficiency. Plugging in 6 watts and using the Betz limit and 6 foot diameter, I figured the generator would have to have an efficiency of 82% (this doesnt even include any inefficiencies in the shaft or other rotating equipment). But the Betz limit is the maximum theoretical limit of coefficient of performance. Chances are this generator is not perfect, and its coefficient of performance will be lower than the Betz limit. So I agree with you, it doesnt look like 6 watts is possible!


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