The answer is blowing in the wind

The answer is blowing in the wind

May 21, 2008

Let’s face it, harnessing the wind to produce electricity is no easy task. That's because wind, like the weather, changes by the minute. There are gale-force winds, dead calms, bursts, gusts, and breezes to deal with. Not to mention constantly shifting wind directions. For researchers at the University of New Brunswick's Energy Research Laboratory, this constant change is one of their biggest challenges and opportunities.

Researchers at the lab are developing novel "black boxes" or Wind Power Inverters that can take a wildly fluctuating electrical power and transform it into a steady, controlled current—stable enough for any household appliance to use. These devices allow for maximum power yield and energy output of whatever generating system they're attached to. And they can be scaled down to meet the energy demands of a house, factory, or even a small town.

As a result of this energy research, the self-sufficient home of the future could have solar panels on the roof, a wind turbine in the backyard, and a mini hydro generator producing power from a nearby stream. And tying it all together would be the Energy Research Laboratory’s Wind Power Inverter.