Portable Wind Turbines That Can Fit Inside Shipping Containers
Last week Gateway Gazette showed how China is developing a nuclear power plant that is so small that it can fit in a 40ft shipping container. Whereas this makes some people feel uneasy for a variety of reasons, this week’s shipping container power generation is somewhat better for the environment and regional stability – portable wind turbine systems that fit into shipping containers.
Uses of portable wind generation
Wind is one of the best renewable energy resources, with some parts of the world capable of generating more than their nation’s needs every day of the year. Much of the world isn’t connected to a power grid, however, and a portable wind turbine is a very good way of providing clean, green energy to a site or farm that is too far from the electricity grid to get cheap energy.
Portable wind energy generation systems can be used in a number of ways. The military can bring renewable energy systems to their field of operations to help them fight their way through areas when the local power system has been knocked out. Wind energy systems can be used in natural disaster areas, helping purify water and supply field healthcare units with the energy they need. Another important use is for ranches and farms that are sometimes over 100 miles from the nearest town or city, and would otherwise have to pay thousands of dollars to get grid supply to their business or pay a lot of money to get diesel to the site for their power. A final example is where someone is living off grid in the bush and needs energy for their lighting and other uses – these people often don’t need vast amounts of energy and can get by with relatively small power plants.
Is it reliable?
Fossil fuel fans always point to the fact that wind doesn’t blow all the time. Even in higher latitudes of the world with stormy weather much of the winter months it just can’t be relied upon. In the autumn months of 2015 there were a lot of storms that hit Northern Europe where, in the same period in 2016, there has been a weak jet stream and huge high pressure areas with light, meandering winds.
Renewable energy giant Tesla, amongst others, have developed a variety of battery systems that can store 90% or more of the energy generated by renewables when the electricity generated isn’t needed. It might be windy one night while everyone is asleep and windless during the day when they need the power.
Another factor to consider is that winds can be stronger at higher levels than on the ground. eWind Solutions may have an answer for this. Their wind turbines are kites that fly up to 500 feet in the air and can go up or down to get the best, steadiest airflow. The system is extremely portable and can also be stored in a 20ft shipping container, meaning that with relatively little effort they can be moved from site to site – perhaps to power a mobile healthcare unit in the bush so doctors can perform surgery.
The eWind Solutions kite turbines are still in development but have got seed funding recently and expect to go into commercial production in the next 18 months. Once up and running expect to pay around US$50,000 per turbine but after that, it will generate energy at around US$0.07 per kilowatt hour. This is around the same cost as hydroelectric energy.
When people think of a wind turbine they think of a mast with a propeller on it. This is what you will find with the system that is commercially available now through Uprise Energy. Fitting inside a 40 foot shipping container, a 50kW wind turbine can supply the energy required by a small scale industrial unit such as a dairy or four large family houses. Have a look at the video below for an idea what this system can do.
It has been developed for low wind energy environments such as lower latitude countries that don’t expect gales on a regular basis, and in 12mph winds can generate energy for areas on grid or off grid. The company touts this as ‘the most advanced wind turbine in the world’ that can be set up in a couple of hours by a single person in just a few hours. One great advantage of this is that it can be dropped into a disaster zone and provide energy to the area extremely quickly.
Does your next project need a second hand shipping container?
Gateway Container Sales has hundreds of used shipping containers for purchase or hire. We also have an on-site workshop for making a variety of container modifications. Contact us if you have an idea for a shipping container project and our team will be happy to help.