Google Checks Out The PC of Renewable Energy

Jellyfish Photo 2
Imagine you could go to Home Depot and for a few hundred dollars purchase an appliance that plugs in like a blender and generates a chunk of the energy your home needs, renewable and emissions-free. This dream may be just 12-to-18 months from stores. 

Once a pioneer at RealNetworks in Seattle, Chad Maglaque was at Google HQ last week talking informally with engineers about his invention The Jellyfish. It’s a 36-inch-tall rooftop wind turbine that you can plug into a socket in your home—no fancy setup required—and generate up to 40 kWh a month, about enough to power a home-full of LEDs or a room full of CFLs. It also comes Wi-Fi and WiMax equipped. He calls it the PC of renewable energy. "We could have 10,000 of these sitting in a city, networked—it’s like a virtual utility," he told me. His idea is that the utility or the city will subsidize the $400 cost down to $199 or less with tax rebates. He estimates it’s 12-to-18 months from store shelves, provided it clears all safety inspections. The Jellyfish is a semi-finalist for the Google Project 10 to the 100th contest—$10 million for the 5 ideas that helps the most people. You can see the other entries and vote starting on March 17 here

Via Build Baby Build, via Worldchanging.

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8 Comments

  • Dwad Nahj

    I quote from the article: "It’s a 36-inch-tall rooftop wind turbine that you can plug into a socket in your home--no fancy setup required--and generate up to 40 kWh a month".

    Well that's practically meaningless, and you know it. "up to" means the same as "less than". You could easily tell us how much power the unit would generate for a given amount of wind in a month, and let everyone calculate how long they would have to keep the thing running in order for the thing to pay for itself, based on how windy it is in their area. That would have been informative. Do that next time, please. Your readers are adults with better judgment than you are giving us credit for.

  • Brian McEwen

    This appeals to me also. However, often the claims for these super small turbines don't hold up. It varies of course, but just a reminder to be skeptical. Rooftop installations tend not to work as well as a tower. How long will it take to pay itself back if it doesn't function as well as it should? How long till it needs repairs? How loud is it?

    I'm not an expert but this site introduced me to some of the problems: http://www.wind-works.org/ Go to the Small Wind section for more on the subject. One I was wondering about is the threat to birds. From what I can find it seems that the issue of killing birds could increase if small turbines become common (but there is no definitive data), and it will never compare to house cats, cars, powerlines and glass.

  • Robert Siegal

    This is the type wind turbine we've all been looking for. I really want to believe this one will be on the market.