Inventor Chad Maglaque doesn’t just want to bring change to the world of renewable energy -- he wants to mass produce it. The Seattleite has recently invented an affordable, accessible version of the micro-wind turbine, which he calls the Jellyfish.
At a mere 36 inches tall, the plug-in wind appliance can generate about 40 kilowatt hours each month, that's enough to light a home using high-efficiency bulbs, said Maglaque. And although micro-wind is nothing new, at $400 a pop, the Jellyfish's price and simplicity make it a fresh face in the market.
According to Maglaque’s website:
The Jellyfish Wind Appliance is a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) with a solid-state controller and a variable-speed induction generator that plugs directly into an existing wall socket and automatically generates power whenever the wind blows. The Jellyfish can be mounted on rooftops, wind towers or even existing street light poles - which are already pre-wired to the grid and have the tower already in place!...Working in tandem with the existing power grid, the Jellyfish enables large-scale distributed-generation, delivering power exactly where its needed and reducing the demand for costly transmission infrastructure.
Maglaque said that he hopes the Jellyfish will do for the wind power industry what the personal computer did for the computer industry. Although the engineering community likes to think bigger is better, Maglaque said, we should remain open minded about using both big and small turbines to power the renewable energy revolution.
“We can do this at a small scale as well,” Maglaque said. “Just like there’s still a place for large mainframes and PCs.”
Maglaque hopes that the Jellyfish will soon be an item you can purchase at any local hardware store, just like a vacuum or blender. And with the combination of access, affordability and easy assembly, he hopes that eventually we will see his invention on every rooftop. While that level of ubiquity is, of course, the hope of any inventor, Maglaque also has a bigger vision: bring massive change to our relationship with energy creation. No longer would energy be something that we switch on mindlessly, and utility bills something that we begrudgingly pay monthly. Instead, personal wind power would allow us to generate energy, involving us in the process instead of just delivering uncontrollable results.
As with other personal renewable energy tools, this one could help us create energy, sell it back to the grid, watch as our energy bills drop and hopefully witness the creation of a better, more reliable grid system through our investment in the utility.
One vision that Maglaque shared was for the Jellyfish to help enable district wind energy co-ops. Imagining thousands of personal wind turbines all creating energy for the grid. He said neighbors could join together to work collectively with the power utilities.
“Say you’ve got 10,000 units in one city. If you connect those units on a server, and generate power together -- managing and regulating that power -- you are in a position to work with power utilities," Maglaque said. “This is good for customers because it provides a marginal return, and utilities like this as well because a: you have on demand power, and b: you free up funds to be allocated to the grid network that needs expansion and repair.”
Another hope of Maglaques's is for the Jellyfish to help people in developing countries leapfrog over dirty energy and jump more quickly into renewables.
To obtain more funding for certification and safety testing, Maglaque has entered the Jellyfish for the Google Project 10 to the 100th contest, in which Google will award $10 million to five innovative ideas that 'seek to change the world.’
Google has received more than 100,000 entries, submitted in 25 different languages. They are currently narrowing the choices down to 100. At more than 20,000 views, Maglaque’s YouTube video is one of the most watch among all of the projects:
Starting March 17, Google will ask for your help to narrow it down to 20. Get a reminder to vote here.