Note: The WindCatcher is not currently for sale. This system utilizes a generator that operates at 30RPM. At this time, there are no suitable generators under 500kW in size. We are waiting for the generator market to release a 50kW – 100kW generator, which would be appropriate for small farms and lifestyle blocks.

17 May 2013

While living in Los Angeles and working for an angel investment bank, I had a great pleasure (and sometimes horror) of evaluating over 500 ideas and patents for funding. During that period, I witnessed endless human ingenuity and fancy. However, all ideas ultimately come down to this: 
Is it marketable? Can we sell it? Does it have an acceptable ROI?

The WindCatcher™ of Mr Ed Mulholland answers to the affirmative the above questions and is one of those rare gems of an idea that further embodies an even more unique concept: simplicity.

The WindCatcher:

  • has few moving parts
  • is easily serviceable
  • has a low visual footprint and aesthetic
  • is designed to the old-time engineering principle of building to surpass a 10x failure rate -- something that is not seen in today’s throw-away world.
  • is portable and can be set up in less than one day
  • is expandable: increasing generator size is done by simply adding more generators to the stack
  • does NOT require resource consent per current New Zealand laws (it is less than 10-meters in height and does not require that a concrete pad be constructed)
  • operates at very low wind speeds and has no known upper cut-off wind speed: it is fully high-wind and chaotic wind-flow capable
  • Prototypes have been running continuosly for 10-years and 5-years without any failures  – even in winds in excess of 47.22 m/s (170 km/h).

A Solution for the Domestic Market:
New Zealand is the 2nd windiest place on Earth; however, unlike the vast wind resources of the North Atlantic which are of a laminar air-flow (non-turbulent), the airflow of New Zealand is chaotic. It poses a huge operational risk to wind turbines. VESTAS, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, will not warranty any wind turbines sold and installed in New Zealand.

The only New Zealand wind turbine manufacturer, Windflow Technologies, suffered the catastrophic and total destruction of their prototype turbine during a storm in 2005.

The widely accepted “standard” technology of modern wind turbines cannot handle the ferocities of a chaotic wind pattern. Over-engineering is possible but at a cost that makes their use totally impractical.

 WindCatcher-project Page 04-300px   WindCatcher-project Page 05-300px

The WindCatcher does not suffer any of the issues experienced by a chaotic wind-flow as the design cleverly utilizes the torque delivered by multiple wind directions. This is why there is currently no known upper cut-off wind speed for the WindCatcher.

This makes the WindCatcher the perfect wind generator for the New Zealand market and for any arena in which infallibility is required.

International Markets:

  • Remote power installations (radar and cell sites, microwave installations, scientific research sites)
  • Military: a fully deployed unit can be drop-parachuted into any arena
  • Container Ships and Military Ships can generate all of the ship’s electrical needs, which greatly reduces fuel usage.
  • High-rise buildings could generate part to most of the electrical needs of the building without the perceived ‘eyesore’ of a standard wind farm.

Project Partnership:
Windcatcher Turbines Ltd. is looking for a partnership to take this wind turbine to market domestically and internationally. Fonterra has already expressed interest in purchasing the Windcatcher for the thousands of milking sheds in its co-op. However, they require the power generation data and cost figures to qualify the purchase fully. 

The World Bank has expressed interest in the WindCatcher Container for bringing power to the many Pacific Island Nations and for civil emergencies as the WindCatcher Container does not need any infrastructure to be built in order to be set up or used. Self-Contained power generation from 50kW to 500kW, power within hours of delivery. The 50kW unit can be dropped by parachute from a C-130.

Project Funding:
Analysis Towards Manufacturing (2nd round funding) : $1Million NZD
This will allow WindCatcher to purchase the equipment needed and hire personnel to develop a complete manufacturing parts list and building process for the project so that detailed cost analysis can be achieved to take this product to market quickly.

Mt Climie Project: Cost $675,000 – $1,000,000
Annual Income: $400,000 – $880,000
A WindCatcher turbine of 500kW – 1MW would be placed on Mt Climie, Wellington.