I have a story in today’s Toronto Star about an Ottawa-based company called Magenn Power Inc. that has lofty plans of creating wind generators that float like rotating blimps in the sky. The company’s founder, Fred Ferguson, has spent half his life studying and advancing the design of Hindenburg-like airships, and three years ago he realized that the design could be modified to capture wind energy and transmit it back to the ground.
Magenn has hired former Ottawa-area tech guru Mac Brown as its CEO (He was majority owner and chairman of now-defunct Rebel.com), and is in the process of raising $2 million and developing a business plan that will take it through prototype stage and into commercial production. Magenn envisions floating systems ranging from 1 kilowatt to 1.6 megawatts, and it says the first system — a 4 kilowatt system ideal for cottages and small homes — will become available in the second half of 2006 at a price of $10,000.
It’s an ambitious schedule for a company that doesn’t even have a prototype yet, and Magenn already has a number of skeptics who believe the idea is a lot of hot air, supported only by a fancy Web site and diagrams, that will never make it to commercial production. “What about airplanes?” asks one critic. “Airplanes and blimps don’t mix.” But it’s difficult to deny that Ferguson’s plan is neat and novel, and you almost hope he can make it work.
For more details check out the story.