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Otago Polytechnic wins silver for NZ’s Best Product Design

Otago Polytechnic wins silver for New Zealand’s Best Product Design

Otago Polytechnic Product Realisation Group, innovation workSpace, have won a silver award for New Zealand’s Best Product Design, for their production of a single-blade wind turbine.

The revolutionary single-blade wind turbine designed for domestic use by Dunedin’s Powerhouse Wind Limited has been developed for production and sale in partnership with Otago Polytechnic.

“We’re thrilled,” says Creative Director and innovation workSpace Manager, Eva Gluyas. “Powerhouse Wind has a long-standing relationship with Otago Polytechnic. Our track record is one of creating successful commercial solutions utilising open innovation and business transformation, and this award validates all our hard work.”

The New Zealand’s Best Awards is an initiative of The Designers Institute of New Zealand, showcasing national excellence in graphic, spatial, product and interactive design.

Traditional wind turbines are constructed with multiple blades attached to a fixed hub; Thinair’s patented single-blade teetering hub design allows the blade’s angle to change in response to variations in wind speed. As a result, it makes more efficient use of strong and gusty wind, is protected from damage in extreme wind and is considerably quieter than traditional turbines.

“Until recently, reliable turbines for small-scale wind power generation have not been available,” explains Powerhouse Wind Director, Bill Currie. “Household wind power generation has largely been limited to turbines built, installed, and maintained by enthusiasts. We have used our experience and expertise to develop a wind turbine purpose-built for use in a domestic environment, aimed at providing a customer experience similar to that offered by existing home appliances.”

innovation workSpace have managed the project, which involved the review and further development of the turbine’s mechanical, electrical, electronic and software components. They also worked with Powerhouse Wind to establish and monitor test sites across New Zealand and have helped create commercial market opportunities.

“We have extensive project management and design capabilities, and a great development workshop facility,” says Ms Gluyas of innovation workspace, which includes a team of designers, engineers, model makers, technicians and a wide network of expert collaborators. “We also offer strong connections with the industrial and manufacturing sectors throughout Otago and New Zealand.”

Powerhouse Wind’s directors and partners believe this joint project has been a great opportunity to create an expertise base. “While there have been many challenges, the combination of a startup company with prototyped technology, an academic institution with great expertise and development resources, and the very capable engineering suppliers in Dunedin and New Zealand, creates a vehicle that can make the remaining development to market for Thinair rapid and thorough,” says Bill Currie.

For more information:
• View the Best Awards website
View the innovation workSpace website
View the Powerhouse Wind website


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