WASHINGTON, March 9, 2016 - A Pika Energy 1.5-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine manufactured in Maine is the newest addition to the Energy Department’s D.C. headquarters’ showcase of scientific and technical progress.
The turbine, called the T701, is an example of distributed wind, a cost-effective system that generates electricity for on- or near-site consumption. Unlike utility-scale wind turbines that can have blades longer than a football field, the Pika turbine is small enough to fit in the DOE headquarters’ lobby.
Conventional blades are among the most expensive components of a wind turbine, requiring significant manual craftsmanship to achieve aerodynamic performance, structural integrity and low weight, says DOE. With DOE support, Pika Energy developed a tooling design and cooling process that produces blades using injection-molded plastic that allows mass manufacturing at a lower cost.
While conventional hand-laid composite blades cost over $1,000 each, Pika’s injection-molded blades cost under $50. Pika Energy received funding for development through the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office’s Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP).
According to the 2014 Distributed Wind Market Report, U.S. turbines in distributed applications reached a cumulative installed capacity of more than 906 megawatts, enough to power more than 168,000 average American homes. Turbines used in these applications can range in size from a few hundred watts to multi-megawatts, and can help power remote, off-grid homes and farms, as well as local schools and manufacturing facilities.
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