WindTamer brings turbines to campus

On Nov. 18, WindTamer Turbines Corp. brought a 3.5 kilowatt silent wind turbine on campus to reveal its innovative product line to students and the community at large.

"We want to make a significant contribution to reducing energy dependence on foreign sources and provide for people who need power," said William Schmitz, president of WindTamer Corp.

"We hope that Geneseo buys [our turbines] and we think we can help them lower energy costs," Schmitz said. "This would be a great program for students to learn how the turbines work and a great way to educate students and the whole population about wind power."

Schmitz said that he believes wind energy has a viable future in America. 

"When a player in your industry, like [General Electric] is successful, it shows that the market is successful," he said. 

While GE makes large wind turbines for industrial use, WindTamer is marketing its smaller machines to individuals and smaller organizations.

"If you live on less than 15,000 kilowatt hours per year and have a good supply of wind like we do here in western New York, then this product will help provide you energy and save in costs," Schmitz said.

According to its Web site, WindTamer began trading shares of its stock on Nov. 16, selling its first eight turbines that same week.

Chairman and CEO Gerald Brook invented the miniature turbines that WindTamer sells. "Geneseo has an innovator right in its own backyard … the success [of the invention] is a symbol of American entrepreneurship and echoes of the American dream," Schmitz said.

According to Schmitz, WindTamer's turbines are safer than giant turbines because ice will not accumulate on the small blades. In addition, they are relatively quiet and therefore will not cause any hearing loss, they do not vibrate and their block shape makes them more easily identified and avoided by birds than traditional windmill-shaped turbines.

The turbines operate using a diffuser augmentation, a vacuum system that increases efficiency by pulling extra wind through the machine. This feature allows a small model to produce surprising amounts of electricity - a positive development considering the objections by some that large wind turbines are aesthetically unpleasing.

"People seem to want to have wind energy so long as they don't have to see the turbines go up," said geological sciences professor Scott Giorgis. "It's a 'not in my backyard' mentality that I think we have to get past."

According to Schmitz, WindTamer Corp. is still in the grand opening stage but is looking forward to growing.

"It's not often you can go to work and do this," Schmitz said. "You feel like you're doing something good, providing meaningful employment."

More information on the company is available at windtamerturbines.com.

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