Since I first wrote about Toronto-based WhalePower nearly two years ago, the company has been working away in the background trying to improve its design and document its improved efficiency. The blades are designed to mimic the bumps or tubercles that line the leading edge of humpback whale flippers. The bumps allow the blades to capture more energy from the wind, and to capture that energy at lower wind speeds. (Click here for background story on the design’s benefits).
Stephen Dewar, co-founder and vice-president of business affairs at WhalePower, says the industrial fan blades are currently being showcased for the first time at the PROMAT trade show in Chicago this week. Envira-North Systems Ltd. of Seaforth, Ontario, has licensed the design for their industrial fans. “These are the first tubercle technology products to come to market,” said Dewar in an e-mail. He said the fans — which use 5 tubercle blades to move the same amount of air as a standard 10-blade unit — are at least 25 per cent more energy efficient. “They produce one fifth the noise of previous state-of-the-art fans (and) require 25 per cent less power.”
WhalePower is still working away on wind-turbine blades, and tests from the Wind Energy Institute of Canada should be completed shortly. Dewar has had an early peek at the results. “They’re terrific,” he teased.