Engineer seeks energy revolution
Amazed at how little wind it took to buffet a sheet of plywood he was carrying around the corner of a building, engineer Rob Wissing hatched an idea he believes will revolutionize “green” energy production.
He’s designed two types of patent-pending Wind Generators, each containing ducts that catch the wind, increase its velocity, and drive an impeller that in turn generates electricity.
One is a free-standing tower type standing about 40-foot tall that Wissing says can be installed in appropriate city areas, and the other a “commercial” type that attaches to the corners of multi-story buildings, with 8-foot modules that can power entire floors.
“Ten of these modules can provide as much power as the (single) turbines in wind farms,” says Wissing, who is a long-time president and CEO of Hydrapower – a company responsible for the design and development of the world’s largest product line of metal forming machinery. It is part of Global Brands Group, Inc. and head office is on Marco.
His products are embraced by aerospace companies and some secure US Government facilities, and are also manufactured under license in several countries that also include Canada, Mexico, Australia, the UK, the Middle East, India and Asia.
Wissing says the beauty of his modules, which will retail for $59,000 per (commercial) unit, is that they are ideal for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building compliance. They work on a “canyon” effect that tall buildings in cities are responsible for their own funneling and accelerating of wind which can in turn be harnessed by his units.
As for looks and esthetics, no problem, says Wissing. “Architects will integrate the modules into the envelope of the building,” he says, “and they will be clad to match curtain wall design. They can be added to new or existing construction.” The commercial models protrude 2’ to 4’ foot from building corners. Wissing is quick to point out that the basic concept of his invention is “low technology,” part of which is the impeller, which has been around for so long that it can’t be patented.
“But,” he says, “with a computer controlling the door, ducts and vanes (which is where patenting comes in) you can get more power out of this in proportion to wind farms. If I put 10 of these on an installation, I’ll get the same power out as a wind farm generator.”
Furthermore, he says, the unit starts up without drawing any power off a grid, and can work with winds 6 to 40 mph, making them particularly suitable to the Caribbean and its trade winds.
Higher winds, such as those generated by hurricanes and other storms, are negated because the computer closes the doors of the units during their occurrence. Bird and possible animal intrusions are prevented by wire mesh screens.
As an example, he explained, 10 wind generator units would produce 500 KWh at 16 mph.
In these early stages, Wissing has been encouraged by the acknowledgement of an e-mail request for a grant from the US Department of Energy, but at the same time is looking for possible investors.
Publicity and marketing, he says, are going to obviously be significant expenses at this stage.
An Australian by birth, but who’s lived in the United States for more than 40 years, Wissing is married to Rhode Islander, Carol, and they have a son, Chris.
Now in his late 20s, Chris Wissing was born with cerebral palsy, and his dad and mom have since day one steadfastly defied the odds that experts predicted for him.
“The ‘experts’ said he would never walk or function independently, and should be institutionalized,” Wissing recalls telling a trade magazine during an interview.
He and his wife persevered through many necessary and extremely expensive “growth spurt” surgeries on their son, to non-stop mentoring, encouragement, and the eventual satisfaction of seeing him get a job, drive a car and “become a productive member of society.”
Rob Wissing, who excelled at design from the get-go, was recognized by the Australian Department of Science and Technology for outstanding design achievement in 1982. This was for development of the deep hole drilling, boring, skiving, honing and roller burnishing machine. It was 30 years ahead of its time.
He can be contacted at 642-5379, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. His company website is hydrapower-intl.com.