Elegant Energy GmbH & Co KG, a company specialised in renewable energy, has developed Marlène, a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) that combines an efficient and flexible source of energy with a high aesthetic value.

The wind turbine is very well suited for use in an urban environment, because the functioning of its rotor is independent of the wind direction. Also, it has a much lower noise level than a conventional wind turbine. The generator is a bespoke development for Marlène and software keeps the turbine spinning at its most efficient speed in any geographical area and on any installation height.

From the start of the project, BPO has been involved in the development of the mast and rotor. Conventional, low-cost production methods were considered for the design, at the same time the total mass was kept as low as possible. This meant that a cost-performance ratio has been realised that has not been possible before for a VAWT. Steel cables have been used to withstand the high centrifugal forces in the rotor and using finite element analyses it was made sure that the rotor and the mast can withstand wind speeds up to hurricane level and beyond.

Another important requirement is that the wind turbine is self-starting at low wind speeds and that sufficient power is created at low wind speeds. A range of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses have been performed by BPO and development partners, in order to find the optimal wing profile and rotor geometry. An optimal combination of strength and stiffness together with a low mass has been realised by implementing a wing-box construction.

The first Marlène has been unveiled and put into operation with a small celebration in September this year and is currently running a pilot test phase near the northern German town of Crivitz. Series production is in preparation.

More information can be found on the website of Elegant Energy: www.elegant-energy.com

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