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Wind Tourist Pic of Ropatec VAWT in Southern Sicily

Article by: Paul Gipe

French aerodynamicist Stéphan Aubin sent in a photo of Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) near the port of Siacca while he was vacationing in southern Italy.

Aubin noted that the turbine was spinning the entire time he was nearby, but he has no idea if it is generating electricity or not.

You can see a 2014 video of the Ropatec T30proS 30 kW H-rotor in action on Youtube.com.

This is not a small VAWT like those seen in the British Isles or North America. Its rotor is 11 meters (36 feet) in diameter and each of the three blades is 12 meters (40-feet) long. And the turbine is installed on a 22-meter (70-foot) mast.

The company, unlike so many of its competitors, actually knows the swept area of the wind turbine—132 square meters of the wind stream—and prominently displays this metric on its specs page and in its promotion description. (Those who haven’t followed VAWT development over the decades won’t realize how unusual this is.)

Emergency overspeed control is through a mechanical brake. Seven more of the turbines were installed in the val di Cecina, Tuscany.

Ropatec has been around for two decades. This VAWT is a departure from their previous efforts. However, the cluttered rotor with its truss stays suggests that they still have some work to do.

Also unlike other VAWT promoters, Ropatec’s energy estimates are not outlandish. At a site with a 7 m/s average annual wind speed, the turbine is expected to produce a specific yield of 750 kWh/m²/yr. For a machine of this size that’s well within reason. Whether it can do that or whether the turbine at Siacca has such a yield is unknown.

If you watch the videos, don’t be thrown off by the German accent. The company is based in Bolzano in the Alto Adige province. The area was formerly known as Süd Tyrol and spoke an Austrian dialect.