Tuesday, September 02, 2008


RWE injects £6m into urban wind turbine company


German energy firm RWE Innogy has invested £6m in a London company that specialises in providing small wind turbines designed for urban areas.

The 6kW QR5 turbine can generate powereven in the turbulent wind conditions found in urban areas

Quiet Revolution Ltd, based in Clerkenwell, offers a 6kW product that is unusual for a wind turbine in that it has triple-helix blades that turn a vertical axis to generate power.

The company's £25,000 flagship turbine, called QR5, stands five metres high and three metres wide and can be installed on buildings or as a stand-alone unit. It is especially suited to local energy production in built-up areas, where they can be installed on masts, on roofs and also in clusters.

RWE Innogy, the sister company of electricity supplier npower, said its cash injection would help the "promising" technology progress towards commercialisation.

Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, chief executive at RWE Innogy, said: "The local supply of electric power to individual buildings from renewable energy will become increasingly significant. Small wind power units on roofs can make a major contribution to this goal, especially in places with insufficient sunshine, so that photovoltaics would not be efficient enough."

Urban areas 

Last month saw a report warning that installing small wind turbines in urban areas may not be a good idea (see this New Energy Focus story) because of the turbulence caused by tall buildings. However, Quiet Revolution says its turbine can generate power even in turbulent conditions found in built-up areas.

The QR5's vertical axis design means it "doesn't require wind from a consistent direction to continue producing power", the company explained.

Quiet Revolution has produced around 30 turbines so far since its first project, a seven-turbine installation at a Fairview New Homes development in Croydon in 2006. This year saw the company providing two of its turbines for the "green" Sainsbury's supermarket in Dartmouth, Devon.

This investment will allow us to rapidly expand our production capacity to meet demand, and develop a range of new products.
Robert Webb, Quiet Revolution

A further 45 turbines have been sold, and are at the manufacturing stage. Quiet Revolution, which has also secured a further £1 million investment from other private investors, said it would now be able to expand its production facilities and develop new versions of its wind turbines.

Robert Webb, the company's co-founder and chief executive, said: "We are delighted to be working with RWE Innogy to deliver efficient local wind energy. This investment will allow us to rapidly expand our production capacity to meet demand, and develop a range of new products to satisfy needs in a global marketplace."

RWE Innogy, which has its headquarters in Essen, Germany, said it was providing its investment through its Venture fund, an annual £40 million spend designed to provide equity for a "large number of promising young technology firms".

"The purpose of our involvement," explained Crispin Leick, head of the Ventures division, "is to take this promising technology towards mass production, so that it will become commercially usable."


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