Wind Energy is the fastest growing renewable energy source in Canada. In 2006, installed wind capacity exceeded 1,000 MW making Canada the 12th argest country in wind energy. Today in Canada, wind turbines of the traditional horizontal axis type are placed on high towers generally located in wind “farms” in rural and on-water settings.  In cities wind turbines located on the roofs of buildings would greatly increase the potential for wind energy generation and bring the resulting electricity supply closer to consumers. Vertical Axis Wind Turbines appear to be much better suited to the gusty and changeable winds of the urban environmen t than horizontal axis turbines.

The objective of the research at McMaster is to facilitate the deployment of these small turbines through significant improvements to their noise and vibration performance at low cost. This technical development is being performed in conjunction with industry and lays the foundation for increased participation of domestic industries in the rapidly growing renewable energy business.

McMaster partnered with Cleanfield Energy Corp. and the Ontario Centres of Excellence to test an innovative 2.5kW modular Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine. This turbine is designed to allow individual homes and businesses to generate their own power, offsetting the cost of meeting electrical needs.

Graduate students inspecting a vertical axis wind turbine undergoing testing.