Patrick Richter, CEO , Agile Wind Power Patrick Richter, CEO
They say everything begins with a brilliant idea— the moment when the light bulb suddenly goes off in your mind and finally that eureka moment seeps in.

“The” moment arrived for Patrick Richter in an unexpected way. It was one of those laid-back afternoons when Richter and his father-in-law decided to build a small, carousel-shaped wind turbine for his children in the garden. Little did he know that the small windmill turbine will pave the path for a revolutionary idea. What followed was his

unwavering commitment and continuous series of tests on the idea of the drive. On studying the market closely, Richter realised that the new drive principle that offered high-performance potential did not exist. It was only a matter of time; he founded Agile Wind Power AG to enable the implementation of a new generation of vertical wind turbines for “repowering the world” in a sustainable sense.

In line with the global market for medium and large wind turbines that continues to grow immensely, Agile Wind Power specialises in the local production of wind energy for commerce and industry. With Richter at the helm, the company has developed the first large, economically scalable vertical-axis wind turbine for commercial power generation—Vertical Sky. Overcoming the current technology limitations, Agile Wind Power’s Vertical Sky is a revolutionary solution for the commercial use of wind energy. The solution presents a precise real-time pitch control of the rotor blades that lead to a sophisticated technology with significant advantages. “In order to benefit from new opportunities and markets, innovations and new approaches are required. In this regard, the Vertical Sky®-technology provides a huge potential,” says Richter, CEO, Agile Wind Power.

The Vertical Sky® Technology at a Glance

Currently, Vertical Sky product line comprises A32 and A45 wind turbines that offer nominal capacity of 750 kilowatts and 1.5 megawatt. Both the products are perfectly positioned for decentralised power generation, thereby fostering lesser environmental impacts. In countries with distributed energy supply, these products can find a unique place as these vertical megawatt giants can be installed in the direct vicinity of factories, communities and industrial plants. Going beyond the usual benefits of conventional wind energy plants, Vertical Sky has emerged as an interesting alternative to bring about change in regions with poor connection to existing grid solutions, which have no access to conventional technologies. The technology can also be employed in even bigger wind turbines. These vertical-axis wind turbines produce three times reduced audible emissions due to slow rotation speed. This slow rotation concept also results in far less material fatigue and enables higher safety and better visibility for birds and bats with its vertical rotor and a calm visual appearance. A32 and A45 seamless integrate with the landscape; the Vertical Sky® A32 large wind turbine has been specifically designed to allow the green lattice tower to easily fits in with the landscape.

From the logistics perspective, no heavy transport or mobile cranes are required as Vertical Sky comes with a self-construction system with smaller and lighter components. Furthermore, higher space utilisation is one of the most significant benefits that Vertical Sky empowers its clients with. The cylindrical shape of the rotors, in combination with the improved aerodynamic flow behaviour, results in higher density in winds farms.

In order to benefit from new opportunities and markets, innovations and new approaches are required. In this regard, the Vertical Sky®-technology provides a huge potential

“An investigation carried out by the SBB (Swiss Federal Railway) has shown that the potential area to be used for wind farming is four times bigger with Vertical Sky® compared to traditional wind turbines,” adds Richter. Since its inception in 2010, Agile Wind Power has applied for various patents for its unique technology. Having passed several development stages, Vertical Sky has evolved over the years, and the design of the vertical-axis wind turbine has constantly changed according to the state of knowledge and development. The sophisticated technology powering the solution has been instrumental in helping the team design, improve and solve the challenges of the vertical model. Powered by machine learning mechanisms, the solution offers permanent optimisation of the rotor blade position in real-time, along with permanent wind direction tracking. The gearless and air-cooled drive has been designed for robust continuous operation for more than two decades into the future. On the maintenance front, the solution can be installed without any hassle in a short period of time and involves easy maintenance without requiring any special equipment.

The uniqueness of Agile Wind Power’s Vertical Sky wind turbines stems from their pitch control, which is one of its proprietary technology. The individual 360-degree positioning for each rotor blade demonstrates higher performance and decreased load on the system structure. Evidently, there is less use of material and higher profitability. In a nutshell, these power-packed wind turbines present users with enormous economic scaling for the first time.

Diverse Applications

According to Richter, the climate targets can only be achieved if the use of renewable energies is increased. This requires more distribution, wherein Vertical Sky—the compatible technology for local power generators and consumers—steps in as a game-changer. The technology can be leveraged at recreation, tourism and special sites in ski regions, campgrounds, amusement parks, remote areas, mountain regions and islands. The hybrid applications of the Vertical Sky involve wind turbines combined with photovoltaic, biogas or diesel plants. For the agriculture industry, the products can reap benefits for farmers and growers using their land for the self-supply of electricity and provide them with an additional source of income. Commercial operations can also leverage the technology to curb electric bills by the distributed power supply of one’s own infrastructure, for example, in hotels, hospitals, schools, and more. Vertical Sky also holds promising results for the metal and mining industry, paper mills, concrete factories and steelworks, as well as other heavy industries.

Moving forward, the new application for economic distributed power generation is all set to enter the markets and stir a small revolution.