The VERT Project is in its first year (2010-2011) and is sponsored by Preferred Energy - an organization dedicated to bringing sustainable energy to the mission field.
VERT stands for Vortical Energy Rotational Turbine, which describes the vortex pattern this turbine creates in the wind. Preferred Energy patented the design for the turbine and has built, tested, and proven a 100W model (shown below). However, 100W is not enough power to be able to help many people, so VERT is tasked with the job of upscaling the design to a 2.5kW model to be placed in a mission field. This first year the suggested project site is Arad, Israel - in the Negev Desert.
Upscaling a project like this requires the designers to consider the increased forces on the blades and attachment areas, the safety and feasibility of the tower on which the product will stand, the system to handle the energy once it has been captured, the environmental factors for the project site, and the complexity of teaching the locals how to maintain the end-product. To get a better idea of the difference in scale between the 100W turbine and the proposed 2.5kW turbine, below is a mock up of the scale comparison.
The turbine seen at the top of this page (modeled in SolidWorks) is what VERT is gearing up to begin building in the next few weeks. It is not quite as big as the proposed plan for the 2.5kW version, but will give a better idea of where the constructive and destructive forces act for the current design.