Four-in-One ‘Universal Wind Turbine’ in development

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Greenward Technologies (Austin, Texas) is developing a unique new wind turbine generator set design, the "Universal Wind Turbine" (UWT) project.

The project incorporates four wind turbine generator sets, referred to as a "Quad Array". The concept uses smaller, lighter-weight turbines with more durable and flexible blades and a new design of the soft rotor technology (SRT) that was used somewhat in the 1980s.

The Quad Array is configured as a downwind turbine setup but is unique in that it will operate as an upwind turbine. The Quad Array will also cause the reduction of "tower shadow" or the noise that is made by the blades. The design will increase the number of towers per acres because of the reduction of unit-to-unit turbulence, which is a major factor in the design of modern windfarms.

The costs of operations and maintenance will be reduced, as well, by the UWT design because of the modular set-up. Greenward is working with a California university to design and construct a smaller model of the UWT.

When asked about the technology at the Windpower 2008 conference in Houston, Greenward officials said, "The design is simple and goes against the grain of the current thinking of 'bigger is better'."

The UWT is a design that could reduce the cost associated with windfarm development, operations and maintenance in all capacities, and it could possibly be a good fit for smaller transmission-restricted areas. The Quad Array concept takes smaller wind turbines (typically 250 kilowatts) and combines them to produce a unit with the possibility of producing 1 megawatt.


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