Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Vortec closure no surprise

Media Release

19 July 2001

Vortec closure no surprise

The announcement this week that Vortec is closing comes as no surprise to Windflow Technology chief executive, Geoff Henderson. Windflow Technology Ltd is raising $3 million to establish local manufacturing of its Windflow design.

New Zealand is recognised as one of the most suitable countries in the world for developing wind power from its large renewable wind resource. Wind is the natural complement to our existing hydro resource, which has again been put under great pressure this winter. As our gas resources are rapidly depleted, wind power is our largest and environmentally friendliest renewable solution to the constantly rising demand for electricity. Windflow is tackling that challenge with proven technology.

"The aim of wind turbine designers for many years has been to come up with ways of increasing turbine size without incurring major weight and cost penalties," Mr Henderson said. "The Windflow design is an example of such an approach and uses well-proven technologies to do so."

"Vortec by contrast took a concept that had been known since the 1970's, was long ago abandoned by its US originators and was known to incur major weight and cost penalties. They haven't been able to achieve a feasible result."

The Windflow design is based on two technologies that reduce fatigue loads in wind turbines and provide a 30-50% reduction in turbine weight. Both of these technologies have been proven in projects led by Geoff Henderson in Britain. These involved full scale turbines (25 and 33 metre respectively) which have been running since 1988 and 1990. The design is an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary, step from existing designs.

By contrast Vortec has been trying to demonstrate a radical wind turbine design called the diffuser augmented wind turbine (DAWT) since the mid-1990's. This involves building a shroud, or "diffuser", which is about twice the diameter of the turbine rotor. The diffuser surrounds the rotor and is a large structure that must be supported at rotor height and be able to be oriented to face the wind. It increases the wind speed through the turbine and thus "augments" the power output. The critical issue for the economics of the design is how much augmentation is achieved.

Vortec's 1997 prospectus claimed that US wind tunnel tests on a 0.5 metre model had achieved an augmentation of 5.5. It implied that higher augmentation was achievable, and stated that a minimum of 4 would be required for the concept to be viable. The design of its 7 metre prototype at Waikaretu, south of Auckland, was based on an augmentation of about 9. Published test data by Vortec since 1997 has shown that only 2.4 was achieved.

"Conventional fluid mechanics suggests that 4 is the theoretical limit, but even if it had achieved an augmentation of 9, it is doubtful whether the concept would be viable", said Mr Henderson. "The diffuser itself is such a large, heavy structure that the economics were always questionable. And the yaw system to orient the diffuser becomes a nightmare to design. The pay-off might have been there if very high augmentation factors could be achieved. They weren't, so the venture has apparently been unsuccessful."

Windflow Technology Ltd has recently re-opened its initial share offering. The technologies underlying the Windflow design are conventional, and have been used at full scale in wind turbines in Britain since 1988 and 1990.

-ends-

Further information: www.windflow.co.nz

Contact: Tim Armitage, Armitage Consultancy Tel: 03 351 8090, e-mail: tim@armi.co.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Snail's Pace: Aucklanders Face Frustrating Commute Over Harbour Bridge

Journeys into Auckland's CBD took longer than usual as traffic banked up around the damaged Harbour Bridge. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>

ALSO:

MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>

ALSO:


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>

ALSO:


Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>

ALSO:

NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>

ALSO:

SAFE: Live Export Ship Carrying 5,800 New Zealand Cows Goes Missing In East China Sea

Livestock carrier Gulf Livestock 1 sent a distress signal at 4:45am NZT yesterday in the East China Sea. The area is affected by Typhoon Maysak. At 4pm a patrol plane spotted a lifeboat - with no people in it - and a man in lifejacket nearby. The ship ... More>>

ALSO:

FMA: Kiwisaver Fees Don't Match Performance

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) today published an independent report into the passive and active investment management styles [i] used by KiwiSaver providers. The FMA commissioned MyFiduciary to test the extent that KiwiSaver providers were ... More>>