Testing has begun on the innovative mini-wind-turbine blade designed by the famous Genoese architect Renzo Piano and developed in partnership with Enel Green Power, an Italian multinational renewable energy corporation, at the Molinetto test field, in the Province of Pisa.
The new slim-line, two-blade turbine is less visible than the traditional three-blade design, to the extent that it is difficult to detect in the landscape, but it has also shown itself to be capable of functioning well in low-intensity wind.
This result has been made possible by the research into new, lighter and more resistant materials and by the new technologies employed in the construction of the turbine.
In the total absence of wind, the turbine is capable of blending perfectly into the surrounding environment, being reduced to the slim vertical line of the tower which is 20 m (65 ft) high and barely 35 cm (13 inches) in diameter, and the two aligned, vertical blades with a diameter of only 16 m (52 ft).
In only two months, the prototype being tested in Molinetto in the Province of Pisa, which is also home to the Enel research center, has generated over 1200 Kw·h which have been fed into the distribution grid.
Mass production for the Italian market will begin on completion of the test phase, which is due to continue for another few months.
The new mini-wind-turbine blade is part of Enel Green Power’s strategy for innovation that targets improving the performance of all the renewable technologies, making them more available and less prone to problems linked to the intermittency of wind power. The aim is ever greater integration of renewable resources in heavily populated areas, thanks to the deployment of more compact machines with lower visual impact, within both the natural, and architectural environment. It is worth noticing, though, that even without the blades designed by a famous Italian architect, wind turbines do not decrease the value of the adjacent residential property.
There is also a focus on those renewable sources currently not in use, improving their capacity for making electricity available, including in more remote sites such as the Italian islands.
This project has benefited from contributions from Studio Favero & Milan in Venice, for the final design, and Metalsistem of Rovereto (Trento), for its construction.