In the Off-Grid Power Generation world - especially when it comes to micro wind turbines - the name superwind is synonymous with survival. Of course, the reason most professionals will only use this commercial/professional-rated equipment is they likely have had to use something else in the past, and it didn’t work for very long. And, for those same professionals, ‘survival” isn’t enough – it has to make reliable power. Superwind does both. Before we explain how, a little history is relevant.

Micro-wind turbines (electric wind generators typically 100 to 2000 watts) have been around for well over 50 years. They were fun for hobby types, useful for sailors on sailboats who knew when to leave them off so they did not self-destruct in high winds, or worse yet blow the battery bank apart from over-speed based overcharging. Oh, and then there was the high speeds, noise and vibration. Two blades, four blades, five blades and even some six bladed rotors stuck on an auto-class alternator, all called ‘wind turbines’, and none of them balanced… this means noise. The more wind power, the more noise created, until the turbine finally blows apart and only then gets quiet. It is no wonder why so many off-grid professionals (as well as their customers who paid for these types of hobby wind turbines) have a very bad feeling about “wind”. One really could not blame them.

 

This all changed in 2002, when Martin van Egeren and Klaus Krieger founded superwind GmbH and brought to the industry some much needed common sense along with fascinating German Engineering. By working directly in the field with off-grid end users, superwind could focus on the real world need. Mr. Krieger will be the first to state the obvious quickly: Noise is a byproduct of vibration, vibration comes from a lack of balance, and a lack of balance is the result of poor quality components, poor workmanship, or both. This brings us back to our products.

Superwind turbines are made of the highest quality materials: salt water resistant aluminum alloy, and stainless steel. They are built to exacting standards and must overcome scores of pass/fail assembly points and multiple inspection steps – even before being individually quality control tested when fully constructed.

But balance is only part of the success equation. One of the most well-known turbine terminating factors is ‘over-speed’. When a low quality turbine is launched over-speed by high winds, it rapidly starts shaking its mast or rigging, heats and wears out its bearings, overpowers its stator, and is forced to either absorb the energy as heat, or discharge high amperage into the charge controllers and/or overcharge fragile but expensive battery banks. Basically, in hobby wind turbine terms, “over-speed” means repeated steps of escalating damage until the ultimate failure of some, or all, of the equipment is reached. Fortunately, a Superwind turbine is a commercial piece of equipment.

Superwind turbines avoid over-speed operation through their patented and real world proven auto-feathering blade system. Again, this is not new to us; we have been proving the worth of this advanced, robust technology for over a decade. How it works is one of the best questions our customers ask: As the lateral force of the wind moves the turbine into rated power speeds (about 23 knots), the blades automatically and individually change pitch into a passive angle to the wind force, in real time. This means the blades’ ‘feathering action’ occurs in micro-moments and in millimeters of movement, and the blades automatically recover to their normal position as the wind force lessens. The blades can actually pitch up to 40 degrees! The technology that allows this simple operation is quite remarkable, yet is robust enough to operate for a decade or more – even in Arctic and Desert conditions.

Yet, ultra quiet operation, an auto-feathering, over-speed avoidance system, the highest quality saltwater materials, and proven power production in modest to high winds is still not enough to satisfy the engineers at superwind. With over twenty-five years of wind turbine experience, the superwind team knew that our customers needed more. We knew that a wind turbine does not work by itself – it is part of a larger charging system, and successful integration means more than selling a wind turbine and walking away. So superwind set about to build a better charging strategy, and in doing so changed the industry.

Fourteen years ago we were the first and only to incorporate a dump load resistor system into our charge controller set. This allows the turbine to be left on, allowing unattended operations (making power 24/7) when ample wind is present. By charging the batteries within the manufacturers specifications and dumping the power only after the batteries are fully charged, we have created a charging system that is truly autonomous, reliable and highly efficient. Today, our system is so advanced that we are the only micro-wind turbine ‘Valance Verified’ - meaning we are qualified to charge Lithium Iron Magnesium Phosphate (LiFeMgPO4) batteries and energy storage systems.

Another question we are frequently asked is whether we can work with other charge sources?  YES! The superwind was designed to work alongside Solar Panels, Fuel cells, and even your ship's engine. This translates to true fuel conservation advantages in windy areas.

Because experienced sailors know hobby turbines can interfere with Sat phones and long-range marine radio transmission & reception, being able to operate your turbine without affecting your ship's operation is crucial. Superwind design eliminates electronic noise and magnetic vibration by utilizing a brush-less offset AC stator to produce power, then added RF Gain dampeners to the DC Rectifier to ensure no interference from the turbine's power output and charging of your batteries. All superwind 350 turbines are DC output and available in 12v and 24v. It is also worth mentioning that at no time do the special features of a superwind turbine interfere with making power. Click here to see our SW350 power curve.

If you think about it, our reputation is based on the off-grid professional hopping aboard a $4,000.00 round-trip helicopter ride to a communication tower atop a mountain to install a micro-wind turbine to help power lifesaving equipment. You might ask if that is the time to save money by using a cheap hobby wind turbine? For our experienced customers, the answer is: no way! And that is the reason that every superwind is tested to the same high standards - whether it is going on a life-saving tsunami detector, or your sailing vessel.

Once properly installed, the Superwind 350 can work for decades where the other turbines would likely fail in months or weeks.

 

Rated Power                     350W
Rated Wind Speed           25 knots (12.5 m/s)
Cut-in Wind Speed          7 knots (3.5 m/s)
Cut-out Wind Speed       None
Rotor Diameter               1.22 m
Number of Blades          3
Rotor Blade Material     CFRP
Rotor Speed                    500-1300rpm
Generator                        Permanent Magnets
Voltage                            12VDC/ 24VDC
Connection                    Charge Regulator
Speed Control                Passive Pitch Control
Power Control               Passive Pitch Control
Main Brake                    Electro Dynamic
Nacelle Weight             11.5 kg

We will be the first to remind you that wind turbines work where there is ample wind resources, and many potential customers are surprised when, by experience, we suggest a superwind might not work for a given project. That is another superwind difference – you are working with trained professionals, not some E.Com/Store saying anything to sell. So to help you understand if your project and site is appropriate for using a superwind turbine, we welcome you to contact our staff or any of our authorized agents, anytime.