Luvside brings vertical wind turbines to South Africa | Infrastructure news

German company Luvside launched a pilot project in the V&A Waterfront featuring four 1kW small-scale wind turbines.

These drag-style turbines are seen as a more aesthetic option coupling that with their ability to capture wind from all angles they are a good fit for urban environments. The four turbines are strategically placed in a passage between two buildings in the Silo district near the Zeitz Mocaa to charge batteries – with the turbines able to throttle down to a standstill as the batteries fill up and discharge.

This two-part project aims to test the feasibility of integrating small-scale wind energy into urban environments. Over the next year, Luvside will collect data to assess the potential for scaling this technology and incorporating it into larger sustainability strategies.

The second part of the project is based at the Atlantis Special Greentech Economic Zone where Luvside will deploy a larger installation of its horizontal turbines.

The V&A Waterfront sees this initiative as an opportunity to raise awareness about renewable energy and demonstrate cutting-edge practices in sustainability. The wind turbines, highly visible in this often-windy location, serve as a reminder of the importance of protecting the environment for future generations.

The Luvside LS Double Helix 1.0 turbines are the company’s main design.

Built for the North Sea

Luvside, founded by Ralph Hoffmann, has been developing small-scale wind turbines for over a decade. Hoffmann, a passionate windsurfer with a deep connection to Cape Town, was inspired to create a sustainable solution with real-world impact.

“There was an oil company asking for this because they didn’t have any power plugs, and needed independent electricity, so we took the challenge to produce something that can exist in the 200km/h North Sea winds,” Hoffmann explains.

Munich is relatively windless, and they had to drive out to the mountains of Austria to test the prototypes.

The V&A Waterfront pilot project has also received support from the German Energy Agency (DENA) through its Renewable Energy Solutions Programme. This programme, funded by the German government, promotes the export of climate-friendly technologies and facilitates knowledge transfer between Germany and target markets.

Growth potential

Hoffmann envisions a future where small-scale wind turbines become as commonplace as solar panels, contributing significantly to the global energy transition. The company is confident that continued advancements in technology and mass production will make wind energy more accessible and affordable for everyone.

When Bizcommunity asked Rodney Love, CEO of Luvside’s local partner ESA, about possible local manufacturing he limited that possibility to “turbine blades” claiming that the German engineering in the generators was too complex to implement.

Luvside mechanical engineer Ashwin Vijay, however, explained that the specification could be made available to a local commercial partner and the company is looking towards that as a future development.

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