July 17

Wind Generator Unveiled

By Jeff Muniz

July 15, 2010 Updated Jul 17, 2007 at 7:25 PM CDT

Paying for power has become pricey, but soon, an answer for homeowners could be blowing in the wind.

In the next year or two, homeowners could be harnessing the wind off their rooftops, but this is not your typical windmill you'd see on the farm.

This is more of a wind generator that would whip around the ridge of your rooftop producing electricity to just heat homes in the winter.

It's basically silent. It doesn't make noise like a conventional windmill does, which is usually a buzzing or whooshing noise.

It took engineers Tony and Heather Grichnik of Peoria seven years to construct.

Wind pressure acts on the unit and goes through a slot and helps rotate the unit over. Along here we see the magnets go by a coil to generate the energy.

Now, you'll still need a furnace for those days when the wind just won't blow. But, any new wind generated heat will be able to use your original air ducts.

Our goal is not to completely replace the furnace in the home. It's to be able to lower people's residential energy bills.

Grichnik says it takes sustained winds of 10 to 12 miles per hour for power to be produced.

But, he says his wind generator will be nothing like the wind turbines that tower over some of open farm fields in the area.

Tony Grichnik said, "We use what's called turbulent air. Air that's been disturbed by trees or buildings and use it to generate energy. Part of the key to that is by capturing wind that rushes off the roofline of a house and into the unit."

Grichnik is pitching his invention to some possible local investors. He's part of the Peoria Next project, which helped his wind generator get some wings by providing seed money.

Vickie Clark with the Central Illinois Economic Development Council said, "We're starting to see more and more interest nationally in this area because of the research we have and the innovative programs we're creating."

One of the biggest issues with using alternative power sources is they're typically not cost-effective. Grichnik hopes homeowners will find his wind generator will pay for itself in five years through energy savings.

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