The Fuller wind turbine is awaiting USPTO patent issuance. It is an improvement of an early 20th Century Tesla turbine, substantially modified for use as a low speed, high torque wind turbine. By being vertically mounted atop a tubular tower, this turbine can be supported by a magnetic thrust bearing, thus eliminating all mechanical friction sources. The alternator and its associated electronics are located at the base of the tower, thus eliminating the need for technicians to work at hazardous heights in order to perform routing maintenance tasks. No routine up-tower maintenance is needed.
By using a completely enclosed turbine, with screened inlet and outlet, we eliminate any possibility of injury to avian or bat populations and coincidentally eliminate the primary source of objectionable noise and radar reflectivity.
The alternator is directly driven from the turbine, with speed control provided by airflow restriction and/or electrical load control. No upper wind speed limits are envisioned and the design should be suitable for installation in urban settings, thus reducing the need for extensive transmission infrastructure capabilities. Being completely enclosed, this unit addresses visual distraction concerns as well.
Cost of this unit, due to its simplicity of manufacture and erection, should be approximately $1.50/watt capacity, substantially lower than that for conventional bladed turbines. The difference is even greater as capacity increases, due to the complexities involved in large blade manufacturing.
This unit is also ideal for off-grid use, being simple to install and virtually maintenance-free.
It is also well-suited for colocation as a cellular and/or communications tower and can serve as the backup power source without the need for periodic fuel tank servicing.
A Proof-of-concept trailer-mounted unit has been constructed using a permanent magnet 5kW alternator. This unit has been shown to be very efficient and will be followed by a 10kW tower-mounted turbine as finances permit.