The Micro Wind Turbine: A portable, collapsible energy source

This compact turbine is perfect for a nomadic lifestyle.

Keeping electronic devices charged and working is a difficult task when one moves away from civilisation for considerable periods of time. Avid adventurers (or people who live without proper access to power) often rely on solar energy to keep their electronics on, but it isn’t always sunny.

The Micro Wind Turbine is designed to fill this gap. It is able to continue generating power independently using nothing more than a brisk breeze. It was designed by former ECAL student Nils Ferber. While many existing lightweight energy source products are based on the design of solar panels, Ferber recognised that sunlight can only go so far.

Writing to the James Dyson Award website, the designer said, “After I repeatedly encountered the problem of running out of batteries during longer trekking tours I started to wonder how professional adventurers deal with this situation. I contacted a number of mountaineers, climbers, film-makers and expedition leaders and asked them questions about their experiences, requirements and typical weather conditions. All of my contacts told me that they are usually using solar panels. But being entirely dependent on the sunshine is a huge problem for them, sometimes putting them out of work for several days.”

In overcast weather conditions and during nighttime, solar powered portable energy sources fail. Wanting to tap into the power-generating potential of industrial wind turbines, Ferber designed a compact version than can be erected and collapsed in different places with minimal hassle.

The Micro Wind Turbine weighs about 900 grammes and folds up like an umbrella. It is made to harness winds from any direction. It can store electricity inside its internal battery for later use or channel energy to a compatible device via the USB port at the turbine’s base.

The design is not ready for mass production yet and is currently undergoing trials. A working model of Ferber’s design was showcased at the Dubai Design Week in October 2016.