Modular build turbines immune to company collapse?

Siverford blog is always quite an interesting site for perspective on the small wind industry with an emphasis on the merits of the Gaia wind turbine (of which I have been a big fan for many years).

In a recent post the subject is how to protect yourself when buying a wind turbine (given the recent collapse of Proven (the biggest in the UK?).

Modular Build is the answer!  – So what does “Modular Build” mean? – The Gaia133 is the only MCS & Danish HB approved small scale wind turbine in the world, built utilising “Off The Shelf” parts – like the generator/gearbox/brake/controllers etc – the key statement in that sentance was ” Off The Shelf “.

Many, if not all, small scale turbine manufactures build/spec one-off parts exculsively for use in their turbines, meaning if they go burst – you cannot get any parts!

The idea is that “if you have a Gaia133 (or Endurance E3120 for that matter!)- you ring the manufacture of the part, and get one sent to you!”  So there is no problem with spares.  Now let us hope that their MCS certification is not withdrawn.

There’s something to be said for building your own turbine so that you become your own supplier, and you are immune to MCS nonsense, because the big Feed in Tariff gravy train will pass you by in any case.

About hugh

I live off-grid in NW Scotland and have spent my life playing with wind turbines. I also love small hydros. Hands on renewable energy is my thing and I like to learn and to share my experiences.
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4 Responses to Modular build turbines immune to company collapse?

  1. Karla Bernhardt says:

    Ich finde es toll, was du machst

    greeting karla

  2. John Furze says:

    Thanks for good comments –

    I too regret the collapse of Proven a good intelligent design – in which I believe Hugh Piggott also had a hand in the early days.

    However further to the above comments relating to modular component construction:

    This is one of the only serious and viable ways to go – if one wishes to further develop or progress much above 1-2 kW plus – and especially one wishes to further the de-central and local production of smaller wts from 4-5 kW up to about 55 – 100 kWs

    Kindly consider the modular progress development of the Danish WT industry in the late 1970’s – 1980’s – 1990’s. Modular components and more Modular components were the orders of the day. All design and construction drawings for a 13,2 kW wt were available in a complete large file for about under 100 Euros or so from the Danish Renewable Energy Organization and any village blacksmith could in reality – just order and assemble these basic components -using his own knowledge of fitting, welding, drilling etc etc. Thereby enabling any workshop to make and sell their own windmills. I have lived through this period and still have many friends who have done this.

    As often said before – any smaller real truck repair workshop in most “developing countries” can make their own 22 kW within the space of at the most just over 1 month or so with access to such modular components.

    At the start of the 1980’s – good reliable long-lasting industrial standard off-the-shelf components – such as – belt-driven induction generators were from the GDR, Sweden or Finland, gearboxes from GDR, Finland or Belgium, Hydraulic systems from a small Danish firm [now a German firm], Electrical control systems from a few former civil engineering students, and rotor blades based on Hutter’s root-construction technology as first built by a young man and later by several glas-fiber boat-building factories.

    Likewise the several smaller down-wind models were all basicly rather similar both in size and construction.

    In reality there was nothing new in this approach. The modular approach was followed for the de-central local production of both traditional-type wind mills and also for de-central wind-diesel electrical power generation wind turbines in Denmark from the beginning of the 1900’s until the late 1930’s.

    I can suggest that any serious friends or colleagues who may be visiting Denmark – to let us know and a special quided study visit – especially concerning these wts from the late 1970’s to the 1980’s at the Danish Wind Historical Collection – can be arranged – see the web site –

    And as a recent story – a colleague in Greece has just purchased a 30 years old 90 kW NORDTANK. This 30 year-old wt [originally made in a small workshop in our neibouring village] is basically entirely built of these standard “off-the shelf components” – our Greek friend just needed a little assistance to find a workshop manual and circuit/control diagrams – and all ok.

    Likewise kindly note the recent re-introdution back into production in Denmark of a previous 30 year-old Danish 22 kW design [many of these are still fully operational] – – produced in a local workshop from standard generator, gearbox, glued wooden blades etc etc with total work force of about 4-5 persons. However this 22 kW wind turbine is now down-rated to 6 kW [due to certain unfortunate political and site-specific special new Danish regulations].

    One can also add that this wt has a basic NACA-type with the same-section and same angle of attack along the blade. This blade airfoil profile is rather similar to those on certain Vestas blades. [this basic profile [although in a glas-fiber version] is shown in certain books by Paul Gipe]

    Greetings – John

  3. admin says:

    The blades tend to be proprietary if nothing else.

  4. Peter Aulder says:

    I nver really thought of looking at wind turbines from that prespective…interesting angle/take on the concept of a modular built turbine. Certainly seems seems the best way to protect your investmnet longterm. Been interesting to see if C&F Wind Turbines, Westwind, Evoco and many other manufactures stand on the parts supply if they go burst?

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