You may recall that I mentioned
young entrepreneur Michael Easton and his company, MicroWind Technologies, in my
keynote speech at SolidWorks
World 2009 in Orlando. He had designed a new form of wind turbine that
looks much more attractive than the traditional propeller. His hard work and
clever approach are now starting to get the attention of the press. This article from
Spirit Magazine goes into great detail about his philosophy, the design
process, and where Michael hopes to go. It’s a great read for anyone interested in
Basically, he’s attacking two of
the toughest challenges in massive adoption of wind power; first, the NIMBYs
(Not In My Back Yard), and second, the ROI. In the case of the NIMBYs, we all
would like to see wind power, but we don’t want to look out at our neighbor’s
ten-meter-diameter propeller spinning on top of his house. So, Michael’s device
is designed from the start to be unobtrusive.
The ROI for wind power is not
yet attractive for homeowners. The payback with today’s propeller technology is
up to ten years, but most homeowners keep their homes for less than seven
years. His cost targets for acquisition and maintenance will make the turbine
much more attractive for those of us watching our dollars and Euros.
Michael is unaccustomed to
failure; he has no fear in trying bold new ideas for solving tough problems.
Will he succeed? I wouldn’t bet against him. We are truly fortunate to have
such impassioned, brilliant customers like Michael working on making the world
a little bit better.