Could the solution to the world's demand for power be right here, in Western New York? A local scientist believes he has come up with a better way to harness the wind for producing electricity.
It's called the Newtonian Wind Turbine.
"We feel that this is the answer to the world problem of energy. There's enough energy in the wind to power all of civilization's needs 100 times over," said Kean Stimm, CEO of Kean Wind Turbines in Amherst.
Stimm says his patented design is much better than a three-blade windmill, which only converts about 1% of the wind into energy.
"We convert 50%. So we're fifty times more efficient right off the bat," Stimm said.
The turbine, he says, also works from a gentle breeze up to hurricane force winds. Traditional windmills are limited to a narrow range of wind speeds between 15 mph and 30 mph.
"We're using twice as much of the available energy of the wind. So we end up converting over 100 times more of the energy available in the wind to use for electrical power."
Stimm's invention is also much smaller. A rotating windmill blade can reach heights of 500 feet above the ground. The turbine is shaped like a rocket and is 1/12th the size of a windmill, which must be located at least a quarter-mile from homes.
"They're so big that they affect television, they affect the radar near airports. With ours, it's very small and the blades are contained within a cowling and so consequently it doesn't affect TV and it doesn't cause any of the radar problems and so forth. And because it's so small and low, just above the tree tops, you won't even know it's there," Stimm said.
The Newtonian Wind Turbine, he says, also makes no audible noise. They will sell for about $250,000, which is 5% of the cost of a windmill. Stimm says testing and certification should be complete by mid-year so he can take his invention to market.