Nord-Lock provides peace of mind for innovative turbine manufacturer

Nord-Lock provides peace of mind for innovative turbine manufacturer

by WindPower Engineering, July 16, 2013


Cambridge, Mass.-based Eastern Wind Power (EWP) is about to launch a wind turbine that could soon be spotted on roofs of urban high-rises, at remote industrial plants, or in developing countries, providing power for basic needs like drinking water and lighting.

Unlike the propeller-type horizontal axis wind turbines that are common in many parts of the world, EWP’s vertical axis wind turbine has three vertical six-meter high carbon fibre blades. The benefits of this vertical configuration include lower noise, less risk to birds, no gearboxes and their associated mechanical issues, and they can be erected closer together than traditional wind turbines.

From the outset,, EWP has focused on quality, reliability and durability in the design and development of its Sky Farm 50kW Vertical Axis Wind Turbine. Not satisfied with the bolt securing solutions they had used previously, EWP tried Nord-Lock wedge-locking washers and were amazed with the results. The idea of switching back to another solution is now unthinkable to them.

Simple and elegant

“We cannot afford failures,” says Linda Mongelli Haar, Chairman of Eastern Wind Power. “The turbine is only as strong as the weakest link, and we wanted to make sure after all our design and development work that we didn’t lose the quality by putting on nuts and bolts that weren’t going to do the job. That is why we turned to Nord-Lock. One of the important aspects of our safety work is using Nord-Lock washers, and now we don’t have to worry about anything coming loose or falling apart.”

EWP’s President and CEO Jonathan Haar came across Nord-Lock at the American Wind Energy Association Show in Atlanta in June 2012. “I was walking around the booths looking for new solutions to different ideas and there they were,” he says. “I looked at Nord-Lock’s solution and could just tell it would do what it’s supposed to do. It is very simple and elegant – and simple and elegant things tend to do their job well.”

EWP currently uses Nord-Lock NL8ss washers – 24 per turbine – to secure the blades to the struts. “If the bolts here are not properly secured you get the bolt backing out a little and it will start to vibrate,” says Jonathan. “And even if it doesn’t back out all the way, it might snap the whole blade off because you’ve allowed enough space for vibration. That vibration can throw your whole turbine out of balance.”

Easier assembly

The company will soon be testing another size of Nord-Lock washers to secure additional crucial joints – where bolts hold the struts to the centre tower. “I think this will probably make assembly much easier,” says Jonathan. “At the moment we are using nylon locking nuts, and it takes forever to get them into position on the long threaded rod – and I’m normally hanging in the air when I’m doing it.”

After a year of what Jonathan calls “really severe safety testing,” Nord-Lock’s wedge-locking washers have lived up to expectations. “We’ve been through two hurricanes and a blizzard, and have been testing blades on top of Mount Washington for icing characteristics. We’ve checked the washers and they’ve worked great.”

Despite being a small company, EWP has attracted the attention of Siemens Industry Inc, one of the biggest players in the world wind power sector. “Siemens was looking to venture into ‘small wind’ and they wanted to prototype their inverters with a vertical axis turbine,” says Linda. “They interviewed a lot of companies and they selected us, which was a great vote of confidence.”

The next step is finding a manufacturing partner that can meet EWP’s stringent quality demands in large-scale production. “The turbine is made of extremely high quality material, which means they are not cheap to develop and build,” says Linda. “To be competitive we need a very strong manufacturing partner that can produce the same quality at scale.”

Distributed energy

With its wind turbine tested and proven, and Siemens Industry on board, Eastern Wind Power has recently started marketing activities. The project is in particular receiving a lot of interest from markets like Hawaii and the Caribbean where the energy prices are as high as the wind speeds.

“We are also starting to get some interest from owners of high-rise buildings closer to home who understand that distributed energy will pay them back quickly and they will have a good 20 years of virtually free energy after a short break-even,” says Linda. “We are hoping to see strong sales soon, and then in about five years we expect to be a very profitable company providing wind power around the globe in urban areas, open areas and in developing countries with no energy infrastructure but a great need for power to meet basic human needs.”

James Brooks, President of Nord-Lock Inc., calls EWP “a fantastic example of a progressive original equipment manufacturer (OEM)” in the wind power segment. “In the last four years Nord-Lock in North America has seen its OEM business grow as a result of companies like EWP focusing on innovation and safety – and safety of bolted joints is our primary mission,” he says.

Besides OEMs, Nord-Lock has also seen dramatic growth of its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business within the wind energy sector in North America. “We see a growing trend both with the OEMs designing with safety in mind, and with utility companies improving their own reliability and safety, and both are doing so with Nord-Lock,” says James. “We are rapidly becoming an industry standard in the wind power segment.”

Mobile Turbine Unit

Eastern Wind Power, Inc. has designed a mobile wind energy technology for disaster relief services, rural electrification micro-grid application, rural communications ground stations, and for military defense field operations. It would establish or feed into a local grid network, assisting in filling the capacity needs of a centralized grid for various base needs, or function as a stand-alone system for field and rural power needs.

We have created an efficient, quiet and reliable vertical axis wind turbine of commercial capacity, but of small enough scale to power a small community or key service within a community. Clean water and basic lighting are two direct ways of providing basic human comforts to areas unreachable by conventional power distribution systems.

Our turbine can be used to power deep well pumps to power cisterns throughout the day and night, creating a “head” to run a small community water system or irrigate a farm. There can be battery charging stations for charging motorcycle type batteries for home use allowing:  students to run lap tops; houses to run LED lights and communication equipment; rural farms to light structures and power equipment.

We have adapted our Sky Farm™ 50 kW vertical axis wind turbine to fit in, and assemble out of a 20’ ISO shipping container, using it as the turbine’s “foundation”.

•  The unit is sized to be transported by ship and then by either a mid-sized tractor or helicopter.

•  The mobile unit can feed a field micro-grid with the power  as is required, be it 48 volt battery storage for reserve power or live time 220/480 Volt – 3 phase @ 60 or 50 Hz. feeds.

•  The unit can serve as a self-contained power station, including on-board battery power storage systems, communications centers, grid distribution nodes, and mobile battery charging station.

•  The turbine blades will be hinged at their connection joints and will open like a tripod, with the blades locking in the open rigid position. The turbine tower would be transported in the same container – being (3) 19’ sections designed for field assembly.

The unit is simple to install in the field as the hydraulics are adapted from a typical fire truck design to lift the turbine in place at the height appropriate for its utility and security. The trailer will have retractable outriggers for stability on any slope or terrain, locking the system in-place, thus freeing up the delivery vehicle for other transport duties.


Siemens Industry and Eastern Wind Power Joint Exhibit at AWEA 2012 National wind Power Conference

Siemens Industry and Eastern Wind Power Joint Exhibit at AWEA 2012 National Wind Power Conference

June 3-7 2012

Linda Haar – Eastern Wind Power, and Razvan Panati – Siemens Industry, setting up exhibit.


Andreas Hartinger – Siemens Industry and Jonathan Haar – Eastern Wind Power. Lucy, EWP’s mascot, joins the show.


Siemens Industry and Eastern Wind Power jointly exhibit Eastern Wind Power’s Sky Farm™ 50 kW VAWT and Siemens inverter system at the AWEA 2012 National Wind Power Conference in Atlanta Georgi

Siemens’ Drive Technologies Division developed this technology for their motion to grid distributed power generation and microgrid systems in collaboration with EWP’s prototype development of their 50 kW VAWT


VIDEO: The Power and Potential of Wind video More and more, wind is becoming a booming market for alternate energy. Meteorologist Carl Parker takes a look at how the power from wind can create electricity and jobs.



Eastern Wind Power is selected as one of Cleantech Open’s 2012 Northeast Regional Semi-Finalists

Eastern Wind Power is selected as one of Cleantech Open’s 2012 Northeast Regional Semi-Finalists

June 12, 2012



“The Cleantech Open runs the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. We provide entrepreneurs and technologists the resources needed to launch successful cleantech companies. Our mission is to find, fund and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges.”




Boston High-Rises Could Be Turbine Towers

Boston High-Rises Could Be Turbine Towers

by AOL Energy, June 14, 2012


Chicago is known as the Windy City, but in truth, Boston is breezier. Beantown has the highest average wind speed of any major city in the United States, at 12.4 mph.

Does it make you wonder how much energy might be generated if wind turbines were placed atop some of its tall buildings? It makes the folks at Eastern Wind Power wonder. A maker of vertical-axis wind turbines, EWP has embarked on a project to gather wind data from 10 high-rises in Boston. It hopes to show that its turbines could be significant power producers for big-city buildings.

EWP so far has Web-based weather stations from Onset Computer Corporation on two buildings – the Equity Office Properties building at 60 State Street and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary – to measure wind speed, wind gust and wind direction. The plan is to collect data from eight more high-rises in downtown Boston by 2013.

Exactly how much wind is available is a hugely important factor in wind power. That’s because the power in the wind is proportional to the cube of its speed. So the amount of power produced rises exponentially as the wind speed increases. According to the Department of Energy, if your site has an annual average wind speed of about 5.6 meters per second – or about 12.6 mph, very close to Boston’s average – it has twice the energy available as a site with a 10 mph average.

This takes on added importance with small systems because, to be honest, they are lilliputian compared to wind’s big boys. The mammoth horizontal turbines spinning away in Texas and California and elsewhere can pump out 2 megawatts or more of power. EWP has a 50-kilowatt (kW) vertical-axis turbine.

But we are talking about windy Boston here – and wind speed climbs substantially with elevation. The 60 State Street high-rise isn’t the tallest in Boston, but soaring 509-feet heavenward it pokes well into the strong winds aloft (Mass Eye and Ear appears to be quite a bit shorter, so it will be interesting to see what the wind study turns up there.)

EWP says a collection of 10 of its 50-kW Sky Farm turbines could trim a 500,000-square-foot high-rise’s power needs by 10 percent. That estimate is based on on wind studies it did on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Green Building in Cambridge (where EWP is based). There, the company said, a single Sky Farm would generate about 45,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year – enough to power six to eight homes.

“One turbine can power a building’s electrical emergency/backup, eliminating the need for a diesel generator,” said Jonathan Haar, president of EWP. “It can also produce more usable energy than a 10,000-square-foot solar photovoltaic array.”

The smaller footprint of vertical-axis turbines is a point the company is emphasizing in its marketing; Vice President Linda Haar alluded to it in an interview with EarthTechling in November 2011 when explaining why the company was aiming to sell its products to high-rises. And, she noted, “this is a market that’s really important because urban areas demand the most energy, but also have the least options, as far as green energy.”

EWP has partnered with Siemens to develop on improving its generator and inverter system. It erected a prototype at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport in 2010 and that turbine is now grid-connected and producing power for the airport.

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