A small Auburn company, Kohilo Wind, is putting a new spin on the traditional wind turbine, and it’s catching on around the world.
The company’s founder, Derek Grassman, has spent about a dozen years in R&D and just started the last couple years to make deliveries.
Grassman tells NewsChannel 9, “It actually started more as studying the wind itself rather than studying the current technology that currently harnesses the wind.”
Andy Day was a commercial banker when he learned about Kohilo Wind, “Commercial lender you see millions of businesses, that’s what you do. This one grabbed me. I think it’s the second time in my 20 years of banking where I said whoa, that’s something.”
The Quantum is one of the signature designs of Kohilo, which captures almost all the wind.
Grassman says traditional models the way they’re designed end up letting nearly 90 percent of the wind pass by.
He says the magnetic bearings on the top and bottom make it last longer than common models out there today, particularly important for a machine in use almost all the time.
“When you see what this thing can do there’s just no question its going to be successful and it’s different.” Grassman says.
Part of the difference is the diffuser system on the outside of the turbine directing almost all the air, like a funnel, into the turbine.
Grassman says Kohilo’s turbines don’t need brisk wind to work.
To demonstrate their effectiveness they used 6-inch fan, blowing almost no air at all but still turning the turbine.
Grassman says right now his turbines are very popular overseas where energy costs are high and the power system is unreliable.
“We want as much exportable product in our country as possible because what it does is bring the wealth back.”
The goal now is to scale them, small enough to sit on top and power an RV or large enough to run a small town.
The system cost varies because there are many options for each one but they typically range from $10,000-$35,000+ depending on the total package.