CGE Energy Touting Its Uncertified Darrieus Wind Turbine

By Paul Gipe

CGE Energy recently issued a press release applauding the US Congress for extending tax subsidies to small wind turbines. The press release also touts CGE’s Darrieus wind turbine, the Wind-e 20.

Ironically, CGE’s vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) does not currently qualify for these tax credits. To qualify for the subsidies, the turbine must be certified that it has been tested to international standards.

Only two VAWTs are currently undergoing testing for certification by the Small Wind Certification Council. One previous VAWT, UGE’s H-rotor, never completed testing in the United States. The developer, Urban Green Energy, has since sold the rights to the turbine to a Chinese company. Currently, there are no certified VAWTs in the country that qualify for the federal subsidies.

CGE’s web site provides very little information on their Wind-e 20, a 65 kW Darrieus wind turbine. Images show a cantilevered, three-blade rotor that can be erected without a crane.

The history of CGE’s product development is murky. In December 2014 CGE merged with McKenzie Bay International.

In August 2004, McKenzie Bay issued a press release announcing plans to install a 200 kW Darrieus wind turbine with its WindStor technology on a high-rise condominium in Toronto, Ontario. McKenzie Bay planned to use a Darrieus turbine manufactured by Dermond.

At the time the Dermond turbine was being tested at University of Quebec Abitibi Temiscaming in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Canada. For more on this “testing” see WindStor VAWT: Another Sad Saga of Time & Money Wasted.

In the fall of 2014, CGE told the residents of the Pioneer Bluff Apartments in Ishpeming, Michigan that it would replace the defunct Dermond Darrieus wind turbine installed by McKenzie Bay with its Wind-e 20. In a brief Google search there was no record that this turbine was ever installed, though there is a photo of the Dermond device. See Wind Turbine, Ishpeming, Michigan, March 2014.

In a promotional video on CGE shows footage of the Ishpeming device and calls it “our prototype” then quickly switches to digital images of its Wind-e 20 concept. Another promotional video shows what the company claims is a 1/10 scale model.

The design of CGE’s scale-model Darrieus is unusual for phi-configuration Darrieus turbines. The model use “trim-flaps” for air brakes to control the turbine according to the videos. This feature harkens back to the failed Darrieus design of DAF-Indal’s turbines of the 1980s. The model also incorporates a method to “furl” the rotor during destructive winds by reducing the rotor’s swept area. If successful, this would be the first use of furling in a phi-configuration Darrieus turbine. Both features could address one of the nearly insurmountable stumbling blocks for building a reliable Darrieus turbine: measures for reliably protecting the rotor in high winds or emergency situations.

However, I could find no promotional videos–or any videos for that matter–on line of a full-scale turbine. I could find no press releases announcing the successful installation of a Wind-e 20 in Ishpeming, or anywhere else.

A call to CGE for further information was not returned.

After 14-years of development there’s still no operating wind turbine by CGE or its predecessors.

Update 5 March 2018: CGE’s Paul Schneider has confirmed that CGE’s turbine is currently not certified and is not being tested.