A new and innovative approach to harnessing wind energy
American Wind CEO and President Robert Yost introduces us to the MicroCube
American Wind is an energy technology company that has turned the idea of a wind turbine on its head. Traditionally, to get more energy from wind you need to make your turbine bigger. American Wind’s solution: much smaller turbines – called Microcubes – but many more of them, arranged in two metre by three metre WindWalls, generating 100kw each. Because these solutions are more compact, it means they can be closer to the point of energy need, minimising energy lost during transmission. CEO and President Robert Yost explains how the technology works, what inspired the innovation, and what the next steps are for the company. In another video, his son Daniel B Yost explains the challenge of marketing such an innovative, transformative energy solution.
European CEO: Robert, you’ve called this innovation your Microcube; how does it work exactly, and how much energy can you get from it?
Robert Yost: Each Microcube creates one kilowatt of electricity. And it has a new generator design that hasn’t been built in 100 years.
What we describe this thing is, it’s not a propeller aeroplane like the big wind turbines; it’s more like a jet engine technology. So it actually increases the windspeed as it goes through it; as compared to slow it down with the big wind turbines.
It’s similar to a solar panel. A single solar cell doesn’t create a lot of electricity. But now you put a solar cell into a panel, and you get a lot of electricity out of it. Same thing for the wind turbine. You take a Microcube, you put it into a great big panel we call a Windwall – about three metres tall, and about two metres wide – and it creates roughly 100kw of electricity.
European CEO: So what are the benefits of having smaller turbines arranged in this way?
Robert Yost: Well, we pick up more wind surface area. The big wind turbines only pick up about three percent; we pick up about 90 percent of the wind surface area. And that’s where you get most of your power from, is the total surface area.
European CEO: What inspired this innovation?
Robert Yost: Well, back in April 27 2011, North Alabama was hit with about 280 tornadoes. And those tornadoes took down our electricity grid for about two weeks.
What do you do in this day and time without power? My wife and I were sitting on our back deck; she looked at this fan that was sitting on our deck, blowing in the breeze. She says, ‘Why can’t we harness the power off of that?’ And I say ‘I don’t know,’ so we started looking into it.
European CEO: So where is American Wind on your startup journey – and what are the next steps?
Robert Yost: The next steps is, we’re actually in production. We’re talking with some of our suppliers right now, we’re going to be in Germany tomorrow, talking to them about building our individual products, and then shipping them back to the US.
So we’re in full production, we’ve actually got distributors all over the world. And we’re going to bring this power to the people everywhere.
European CEO: Robert, thank you very much.
Robert Yost: Thank you.