Photos of Adecon Darrieus VAWT

Canadian developer Adecon introduced a Darrieus turbine in the late 1980s and early 1990s using four extruded aluminum blades. Most Darrieus turbines of the period used only two blades, rarely three.

Jos Beurskens, formerly head of Energie Centrum Nederlands (ECN), has a photo from 1994 describing the test site as 1.5 MW, suggesting there were ten turbines of 150 kW each.

The turbines were installed near Pincher Creek, Alberta an early hot bed of wind turbine development in Canada. Two Adecon units had failed by the time my photos were taken in the mid 1990s. One of the photos appears to show a turbine spinning.

Adecon’s turbines were also unusual because they used a space-frame construction instead of guy cables to keep the tower erect. The space frame is a clever alternative to guy cables, but it increases both visual and aerodynamic clutter.

Nearly all commercial Φ-configuration Darrieus wind turbines in the 1980s and 1990s used guy cables attached to the top of the turbine to keep the wind turbine erect. Adecon was the exception. The space frame wasn’t original to the Canadian company. In 1978, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) installed a small DAF-Indal turbine in a space frame atop a “model home” near Ottawa, the capital. The turbine was removed in 1983. (It is now in the collection of the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa.)

One of the signature lessons of conventional wind development during the 1980s was that the benefits of tall towers far outweighed their added cost. VAWT designers were aware of this as well, but it’s very difficult to install a guyed Φ-configuration Darrieus on a tall tower. This is a fundamental limitation of the Φ-configuration.

An article on Adecon in Windpower Monthly’s 1 April 1995 issue. The article mentions that two of the four-bladed turbines installed near Pincher Creek Alberta had failed and had “toppled”. This was about the time period when I visited the site. The unsigned article said the rotors on the turbines were 30.5 m in height by 21.5 m in diameter. This is one of the few references on Adecon’s failed attempt to commercialize Darrieus turbines supported with an external space frame.