Wednesday 14 October 2015 – The Grand Prix National de l’Ingénierie(1) (French National Engineering Awards) is to award its Industry and Technology prize to the Wind-it project, an innovative renewable energy generation solution developed since 2007 by Elioth,(2) a specialist subsidiary of Egis. The principle is to install one or several vertical axis wind turbines (VAWD) onto the structure of high metal pylons specifically designed to accommodate them. This innovation is the tangible convergence point of communication networks and renewable energy.
Top marks for its original technical architecture and its application potential!
The innovation, combining wind turbines and a small solar power unit, helps to considerably reduce and possibly dispense with fuel oil-driven generators which are traditionally used to supply power to communications towers. The Wind-it tower, designed for mobile telecommunications base transceiver stations (BTS) can be scaled to produce excess energy and thereby contribute to local electricity needs, offering a solid mix of electricity supply through renewable energy.
At the inception of the project and up until 2012, it was planned to apply Wind-it to high voltage electricity pylons, earning the solution several distinctions including the Next Generation Award in New York in 2009 with Encore Heureux Architecte.
In 2014, the project took off in a new direction and the startup Wind-it SAS was formed. Wind-it is represented by four partner firms: Egis and Elioth, Ergos Energy Partners (consultants specialising in energy and support for renewable energy projects) and DFI / WLM (an engineering firm specialising in BTS-bearing pylons and structures). The aim of the association is to pool their respective skills and resources in the perspective of developing and marketing this innovative small-scale renewable energy generation technology.
Also in 2014, a scale model of a module was built in a wind tunnel, and energy production objectives were set following technical development studies on the full-scale prototype. At the beginning of 2015, a 50-metre full-scale prototype (see photo above) was delivered and commissioned for tests and optimisation. The tower, jointly developed by DFI and Elioth, has three vertical axis wind turbines attached within a specially-designed metal structure.
The result of R&D investment, Wind-it displays a considerable number of innovations and has several registered patents, providing this tower with an innovative advantage on the state of the art of traditional towers in both wind energy generation and in the management of local renewable resources (solar and wind power and micro-storage). These innovations can be found in the technical and structural architecture of the tower, the architecture of the wind turbines themselves and the regulation of their energy production.
Finally, Wind-it can help to cut the energy costs of a telecommunications tower by up to 50%, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the same proportion.
(1) Grand Prix National de l’Ingénierie: a competition launched by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, the French Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector, and the French Ministry of Housing, Regional Equality and Rural Affairs, organised in partnership with Syntec Ingénierie and in association with Le Moniteur group.
(2) Elioth is an entity of the Egis group which specialises in innovative structures, building envelopes and environmental design.