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Trailer-mounted wind turbine tested at Army base

Army will test WindTamer's small wind turbine for charging communications equipment. Company is one of a handful seeking alternatives to traditional three-blade design.

WindTamer said on Wednesday that its small wind turbine, which looks more like a megaphone than a traditional wind mill, will be tested on an army base.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company said a 1-kilowatt unit, mounted on a mobile trailer, will be used on the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command center in Maryland. The center is exploring whether the turbine can be used as an alternative means to charge communications equipment.


WindTamer's turbines collect wind through a housing that fits around fan blades. When wind passes through the "shroud" fitted around the blades, it creates a pulling effect to draw more air and generate more electricity, according to the company.

The design makes putting wind turbines in less windy places more practical, since most small wind turbines need a fast wind before they begin operating.

Using wind generation for military bases has potential because of the high cost, in money and human safety, or transporting fuel for generators.

WindTamer is one of a handful of companies trying alternatives to the traditional "open rotor," three-blade design of wind turbines.

Although it's not yet clear where these products are commercially viable, the turbines are typically designed to power a single building or a farm. Other companies include FloDesign Wind Turbines, WindTronics, and OptiWind.