Solatec LLC founder Howard J. Fuller Jr. has announced US patents are pending on the Fuller Wind Turbine System, a new, compact type of wind turbine that can be used to generate electrical power. This unit is claimed to be much smaller than conventional wind turbines and should be especially useful in rural areas that are located off-grid. By combining the wind turbine with a fuel cell system, an uneconomic and undependable power source is claimed to be turned into a far more valuable, utility-grade, "peaking" power-generation system.
The Fuller Wind Turbine System comprises a turbine, which turns a brushless dc generator, and powers an electrolysis unit. This unit separates hydrogen and oxygen from a closed-loop water reservoir and stores the two gases in high-pressure storage tanks (preferably in separate underground "bunkers"). The high-pressure tanks provide the compressed gases to an appropriate fuel cell for generating electricity. Utility-quality fuel cells are currently available to provide 50 or 60 cycle ac electricity for either grid-tied facilities or standalone applications.
The Fuller Wind Turbine System is claimed to provide utilities with the dependability of a peaking unit with the energy costs of a base load unit. Energy is stored in the hydrogen and oxygen storage tanks until needed. The fuel cell takes only a few minutes to startup, and it continues to produce electricity until the fuel is exhausted. Fuel is then replenished by wind power on the off-peak. In addition, there is said to be an economically viable market for the Fuller Wind Turbine System’s byproducts of compressed oxygen and hydrogen (a replenishment system for the distilled water used in this process is required).
The production of hydrogen by the system can be accomplished in an urban setting since the turbine produces no TV interference or perceptible noise – and it does not require a tower hundreds of feet tall. In fact, it’s suitable for placement at many gas stations or building rooftops. According to the company, this would mark a great leap forward in developing the "Hydrogen Highway" across the country. As applied to agricultural areas of the country, the Fuller Wind Turbine System can produce renewable energy (for resale to power utilities or for building heat) and hydrogen for powering farm equipment.
Solatec LLC is currently seeking funding for a prototype installation to be sited in the Nevada area.