I-Labs is a society of research and development that operates on the field of small wind turbines and, more generally, of sustainability. It has its offices in the business incubator ARCA and it has participated and thus been selected in Seedlab, Intesa Start-up and Enel Lab, competitions and business accelerators for innovative start-ups. The product on which we have been working for 4 years is I-Turbine, a mini vertical axis wind turbine, a product created with an innovative process.
The prototype in construction is a 1kW turbine to which will follow, in the next months, the “older sisters”, with a power of 5kW and 10Kw.
The innovation in I-Turbine is transversal and concerns the materials, the productive process and its life cycle, its design, the electronic and monitoring. All these innovations aim at the creation of a product with the best possible performances in the field of electricity generation, ease of use, urban and suburban integration and environmental impact.
Let’s start talking about the design, obtained through years of studies in fluid dynamic and harmonised in respect to the aesthetic and mechanical needs. This multidisciplinary approach in the development of the product has allowed to obtain some high-yield, light, rigid turbines of attractive design.
Concerning the functioning range, I-Turbine can work starting with 3m/s speed wind, thanks to a system that solves the problem of low-speed start, common to all vertical axis turbines.
To enhance its general efficiency, researchers from ISSIA-CNR have developed an innovative inverter based on neural algorithms that allows the turbine to continuously work in optimal conditions. These innovations make I-Turbine work at the top of its performances.
In order to always be able to know the functioning state of the turbine to prevent failures and to intervene promptly in case of malfunctioning, I-Turbine is equipped with a local intelligent unit that monitors it through an accelerometer. Finally, by crossing these data with those collected by the anemometer and by the inverter, it continuously provides information to the user and to the control centre. Even the control centre is an ulterior innovation: all the turbines communicate with it, by transmitting information on the functioning of the turbines and thus making it the central point of a diffused power plant. All the owners can have access to the database of the control centre through their PC and smartphones, when they wish to know in every moment how much energy the turbine is producing or what is its state of functioning.
Given that sustainability is not only creating energy from renewable sources but creating it with environmental care, we have chosen not to use fiberglass but an innovative compound made of basalt fiber and a vegetal resin: this “eco-compound” allows superior performances and lower environmental impact.
When we think about our turbines, we also think about what will happen when, in 25 years, they will finish their life cycle, as it should be ending with their disposal and recycling. For this reason, we have thought about how to recover the materials in order to give life to new turbines or to other products to avoid the production of waste or the use new sources.
I-Turbine will be available on the market in June 2015.