Earlier versions of the TMA vertical axis turbine. TMA is not releasing the most current photos, due to the patent-pending status of some of its aspects.
CHEYENNE, WYOMING, USA -- Terra Moya Aqua Inc.
(TMA) is ready to go into production of a new vertical-axis wind turbine design
that resolves some of the shortcomings that have plagued the traditional
While many of the new design features are superior to the familiar propeller, Ron Taylor, who is the inventor of the new vertical design, as well as founder, Chief Operations Officer, and chairman of the board for Terra Moya Aqua Inc., is modest in his approach. He does not see his vertical turbine supplanting the existing propeller infrastructure, but rather views it as supplementing the field.
Ten years in the making, with seven iterations, and countless hours in a wind tunnel being tested by a premier wind engineering firm, as well as years of data collected from prototypes installed just outside of Cheyenne (one of the more windy locations in the U.S.), the TMA design is now ready for commercialization.
While the various propeller designs now in use harness from 20 to 28% of the winds power, with some newer designs edging to between 30% and 40%, Taylor says that TMA's design captures over 40% of the winds power, all across the profile, from low- to very high-speed winds. Depending on the harsh Wyoming weather, a production prototype is expected to be completed in 5-7 months, at which time they will then launch full-scale manufacturing.
Power from Push and Pull
Perhaps the most fascinating feature of this new design is the fact that it not only gathers energy from the push on the front side, but actually is pulled forward on the back side through a lift effect, similar to the principle that causes lift on a wing. "The back pressure creates a vortex that pulls it around, turning drag into lift," says Taylor.
The result is that the turbine spins just slightly faster than the wind speed -- 1/100ths faster on average, beginning with winds of about 5 miles per hour.
This facet is the "technology breakthrough" that makes it unique, according to Taylor.
This is the crux of their design, and of the approximate sixty claims between the two U.S. patents awarded and a third pending, and numerous international patents secured as well. "We have received notice of the acceptance of the 2nd USA Patent from our attorney but have yet to receive the printed version with the number," said Taylor. "Our patent attorney is very pleased with how broad our patent protection is."
Trial and Error
Earlier designs had 7-8 rotors on them, but in wind tunnel testing, they found that the wind tended actually to blow around the turbine much as water flows a rock in a stream rather than through it. This is a case, the inventor confirms, in which less is more. Their present design has only two rotor blades with three directional foils.
The independent Fort Collins wind-engineering company, Cermak Peterka, Perterson, Inc., that tested TMA's various design iterations, is considered one of the most competent in the world. For example, the companys track record includes running the wind analysis on the WTC Twin Towers prior to their construction. (Ref) TMA also used some of the same software used by large automobile and airline manufacturers such as G.M. or Boeing, for data collection on materials stress and wind flow.
As a result of implementing changes based on these professional analyses, TMA's latest vertical turbine performs eight times better than their first.
Ready to Come out of the Chute
Ronald J. Taylor
Inventor of the design, as well as founder, Chief Operations Officer, and chairman of the board for Terra Moya Aqua Inc.
Taylor said that his company has taken a very low-key approach in the
development of their technology. "We would rather under-promise and
over-deliver [than the other way around], he said. Now they are ready
for the spotlight, which has landed on them since a story that was released on
Friday by the Casper Star Tribune was immediately picked up by the Associated
Press. Their phone has been ringing non-stop.
Cost is Below Conventional Energy
Taylor says that the energy generation cost for their turbine comes in at around 2.5 to 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on the regimen, comparable to the most efficient propeller designs available. He arrives at this figure by taking into consideration the power curves, cost of construction, and all testing and design work. However, he might be overly modest in saying that. Just this year wind power reached the benchmark of becoming competitive with conventional energy generation, which is in the range of 4-6 cents/kw-h -- nearly twice as expensive as the number Taylor gave. (Ref.)
Taylor said that were it not for the production tax credits that wind turbines receive, there would not be nearly as many built, and they would not be as competitive with commercial generation systems. He doesn't think that the TMA turbine will require a tax credit in order to be competitive, especially in higher wind areas.
Handles High Wind Speeds
The optimal speed for harvesting wind energy, between 28 and 33 mph, is the same in both the traditional propeller design and the TMA design. However, TMA's vertical axis design can generate electricity from winds as high as 70 mph, while the propeller designs typically can only generate energy into the low 50's. This means that the TMA design can go into areas of stronger winds beyond the tolerances of the propeller designs.
In propeller turbines, the pitch of the blades must be changed depending on the wind speed. At lower speeds, the blades are more flat, and become more angled with higher winds, catching less of the winds capacity. Once the wind speed surpasses a propeller's top speed, it is designed to be braked to a stop. This eliminates damage from outward-thrusting centrifugal forces which the props are not designed to handle.
The TMA vertical axis design, on the other hand, doesn't have to be braked to a stop. "We do not have to change the angle of our rotors," said Taylor. He said their fixed configuration works equally well at low and high speeds. Once the wind goes above 70 mph, the rotor is disengaged from the generator and gear box so as to not damage them, and is left spinning freely and harmlessly at close to the speed of the wind. The diameter of the rotating vertical axis turbine is much less than of the propeller design.
Taylor said the TMA turbine will begin to spin with winds of around 5 mph, at which point it is just free-wheeling. It begins powering a trickle charge as the gearing system engages when the wind speeds reach between 8 and 10 mph.
The TMA design is rated by structural engineers to handle winds of 156 mph without any damage to the structure. This is just below a category "F3" tornado wind speed. (Ref) Subjected to winds of 180 - 212 in early testing under controlled conditions, an earlier prototype withstood this force, with the only consequence being that a lock collar loosened by 1/8 of an inch.
In the 1960's, 108 mph winds wrecked an array of propeller turbines in Spain. TMA's prototype near Cheyenne was recently subjected to winds of 104 mph and "kept on going," said Taylor. "We do not take down he turbine in storm conditions as it is designed to handle nearly any situation. Obviously a hurricane or direct hit from a major tornado will do damage to anything man can build, but we are satisfied with the durability of the TMA turbine in most extreme wind conditions."
The ability of the TMA turbines to generate electricity during stronger winds offers a tremendous power advantage. The physics of wind power is such that for every doubling of wind speed, there is an eight-fold increase in the amount of wind power. Given the wind-speed limitations in presently-available horizontal-turbine technologies, the region of mid 50 mph to 70 mph will essentially be held exclusively by the TMA technology. This is double the 28-33 mph optimal range for prop turbines, and offers the promise of eight times the power output capacity in windier regions.
Kind to the Birds; More Quiet
One of the primary environmental drawbacks of the propeller wind turbines is that they kill birds. The tips of the blades spin much faster than the wind speed, chopping through the air sometimes at speeds of 200 mph. The birds generally just don't see them coming.
The TMA vertical axis design probably "looks like a building to the bird," said Taylor. "We've never seen a dead bird at our test site." Likely this is because birds dont normally fly into solid walls.
He notes that his company has been able to secure permission to install their turbine in several California counties where propeller turbines are banned because of the known bird carnage.
Also, because of their lower speed, the TMA turbines produce much less noise than the propeller counterpart.
Blends Better into the Environment
Another advantage of spinning at the speed of the wind, is that the damage to the TMA vertical axis rotors from particulates carried by moving air is negligible. A side benefit from this, which is very important to many people, is that the device can be painted to better blend in with its environment. Not being chipped by wind-driven sand or other small fragments of matter, the paint will last longer. Because it stands much shorter, about half the height of a comparable propeller design, the TMAs visible impact on the landscape is much smaller as well.
Serviceability and EMF
Fig. 1; US Patent 6,015,258 (January 18, 2000)
Wind turbine (pdf)
An advantage of vertical-axis wind turbines in general is that the generator
can be situated on the ground for ease of access and service. It is also
can be protected better from the elements that can wear on the gears and
Some other advantages of the TMA system, as listed on the company website are
In other words, there is "no electronic, magnetic or radar interference
for aircraft navigation equipment." (Ref)
Finally, Taylor says the TMA design scales very well, performing "proportionately better." Still, he does not see a need to go to a huge size, but intends to design these turbines for output of between 1 kilowatt and 1 megawatt. A 1 kW turbine would stand around 18' feet high, including the control systems under the rotor area. This is in the low range to handle home power supplementation, and is small enough to be permitted in most residential zoned areas. The municipal-grade 1 MW turbine would be about 220 feet high, half the size of a comparable propeller system. The production prototype will be a 25 kW machine and stand approximately 34 feet tall.
Now that the hard work of research and development is over, and the process of production commenced, Taylor calls this project an "overnight success story. It only took us ten years to get there."
About the Company
TMA is not a publicly-traded company, and therefore cannot solicit investments. Those who do invest in the company are give a full understanding of the technology prior to doing so, and are brought in under non-disclosure, non-compete agreements. TMA will be farming out the manufacturing through licensing contracts. The company presently has four to five fabricators lined up, with trained people ready to build their designated turbine components. "Turbine material lists are finalized, and the bidding processes have been completed or are in the final stages. TMA also has multiple purchasers for the product once the first model's power curve and performance is confirmed by actual operation of the full scale model."
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Terra Moya Aqua, Inc. (TMA, Inc.)
2020 Carey Avenue, Suite 700
Cheyenne, WY 82003
B. Cochran and D. Banks, CPP Inc., Fort Collins, CO; S. Taylor, Terra Moya Aqua, Cheyenne, WY; "A Three-Tiered Approach for Designing and Evaluating Performance Characteristics of Novel WECS"; AIAA-2004-1362; 42nd AIAA [American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics] Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit; Reno, Nevada, Jan. 5-8, 2004.
As the wind market matures and becomes more competitive, it is increasingly important that new entrants realize the full potential of their wind energy conversion system (WECS) early in their product development cycle. Traditionally, the evaluation of potential performance characteristics has been limited to full-scale prototype testing in a field environment. This method can be both costly and time consuming, and, unless conducted carefully, can lead to erroneous results. A more practical approach is to integrate multiple design tools and to use each to the extent of its capabilities. The threetiered approach described in this paper integrates numerical assessment tools, reduced-scale testing in a controlled environment, and full-scale field-testing. Each of these tools provide unique opportunities and limitations, but properly integrated, they can provide a method for designing and evaluating performance characteristics at a cost and time frame significantly less than traditional methods. The exact integration of each these analysis techniques will tend to be device specific since the limitations of each tool will depend on the characteristics of the WECS. While each of these three tools have been used in the past, to the best of the authors knowledge, this is the first time that this integrated three-tiered approach has been utilized specifically for designing and evaluating the performance characteristics of WECS
From: "Ronald Taylor"
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 8:50 AM
TMA will be offering various sized turbines in the future. We do see a market for smaller units for residential to 5 kW) applications and units in the 25kW to 100kW (small business etc.) where there is adequate wind. As a general rule of thumb the turbine itself will be of a more standard size and the generators/control systems will be modified as to power production capabilities. This will mean the smaller units will have a higher installation cost but we do not envision, at this point in time, building dozens of different sized models. The market/demand/sales will certainly have a bearing on the direction TMA's engineering and manufacturing take. We also will build turbines in the 250 Kw to 1 Megawatt in size, with the larger units to be installed in wind farm applications away from residential settings.
In our future product line we do envision a roof-mounted residential sized unit, probably 6 to 8 feet tall dependent upon wind speed etc., that can be mounted on various roof styles. We have not bid out units of this size at this time for price quotes etc:
You may also be interested in noting that TMA recently had two very experienced and distinguished gentlemen join out Board of Directors. Mr. John Nunley III and former Wyoming Governor, James E. Geringer. These individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent, through their engineering, business and political backgrounds to the Board of TMA.
Additionally, in the portion of the article where Sterling talks about " TEN YEARS in the making, etc., the wind engineering company is CPP Wind Engineering,Inc. of Fort Collins, Colorado. This information will be important as it will allow interested persons to look CPP up on the website and see how tremendously experienced and respected they are in this industry. The founding PhDs. virtually have written "the book" (actually a multitude of books) on wind engineering and design testing. They are some of the very best in the business.
The combined talents of TMA's Senior Mechanical and Design engineer, Scott J. Taylor, and CPP'S wind tunnel facilities and personnel, allowed TMA to discover and develop the most unique and functional vertical axis wind turbine ever envisioned to date. Mr. Taylor's engineering skills and ability to look beyond what was considered accepted maximum vertical turbine (Drag Machine) performance curves and capabilities, resulted in TMA having one of the most efficient (Vertical Lift) turbines ever designed and tested. This product will have a significant impact the renewable wind energy industry.
TMA also has a very well established Marketing Division headed up by our President, Mr. Duane A. Rasmussen and an International Marketing company, Rocky Mountain Alternative Technologies, (RMAT) headed up by Sr. VP Shannon P. Murphy. They have already been receiving a multitude of inquires as to when this product will be available for delivery.
Ronald J. Taylor
Chairman / Founder
Terra Moya Aqua, Inc.
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Page composed by Sterling
D. Allan Nov. 7, 2005
Last updated February 01, 2007