by Deborah Johnson Wood
The WindTronics 760 residential wind turbine goes into production in January, bringing 68 jobs to Muskegon.
The turbine, marketed and produced by Muskegon-based EarthTronics, could revolutionize residential and business alternative energy options because of its small size — just five feet in diameter and weighing only 80 pounds.
Created by Imad Mahawili, executive director of Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, the turbine will produce 15 percent of a typical home’s electricity needs.
“The turbine goes on the market in May,” says Reg Adams, EarthTronics president and founder. “Our first retailer across the nation is Ace Hardware. We’re excited and they’re excited.”
The turbine is a plug and play system that generates power by the blade tip speed rather than shaft speed.
“The tip of the blade has a lot more ground to cover in one rotation than the shaft does” Adams notes. “Speed and blade length are the defining factors in a turbine; you speed up the blade rotation and it generates more power.”
To start, four engineers will head up production. Assembly positions make up most of the remaining jobs. Training will begin in February and March.
The WindTronics 760 will retail for $2,800, uninstalled, and will be available alone or as part of a home energy package that includes the energy efficient EarthBulb, also made by EarthTronics.
EarthTronics will relocate soon from MAREC to the new Hines Building in downtown Muskegon. Adams hopes to install a working WindTronics model on the building.
Source: Reg Adams, EarthTronics