New Rooftop Wind Turbine Tested: The Helyx

Recently, I wrote about the low-profile Aerotecture wind turbines, which are designed to be installed on the rooftops of city buildings. Now I’ve heard of another rooftop wind turbine under development. It’s called the Helyx Wind Generator, and it’s composed of two twisted wings of fiberglass that rotate around a vertical axis. The turbine is also colored bright green, which I find quite appealing for some reason. It was invented by Toby Kinkaid in Portland, Oregon, and Kinkaid says the turbine is especially designed to take advantage of low wind speeds. You can see the turbine in action in these videos:

The 40-inch tall turbines will soon be tested on the rooftops of several buildings at Portland State University, with the help of faculty and students. The aim of the project is to see if the turbines will adequately harvest energy in an urban environment.

These test turbines will power 40-watt generators and send out data over a wireless computer network telling researchers how efficient the devices are and whether they have a place in Portland State’s active sustainable energy program. Students and faculty members will measure the output of the generators at various places on the roofs, finding just the perfect windy spots for them.

Kinkaid estimates the devices can be mass produced for $1.50 per watt, meaning a 40-watt machine would cost $60, excluding installation. He said the prototypes cost about $200 each because they’re made one at a time, by hand.

Toby Kinkaid’s company is Oregon Wind.

For more information see these articles: Newhouse News Service and The Bee News

Found via: Earth Times

42 thoughts on “New Rooftop Wind Turbine Tested: The Helyx”

  1. Wind Energy In Residential areas


    I am Sanadesh.

    I am last year Mechanical Enggineering student , I want to use wind energy for electricity generation.

    Is it possible for me to use wind energy to electrical energy ,if wind velocity in my area is ranges from at 2 m/sto 9 m/s?

    If yes then give me solution.

    I want to built up own wind turbine and that wind turbine place on to my terrace.As my building height is 8m to 9meter.

    I also read about roof top wind turbine.

    Can I produce energy upto 12 volt to 24 volts?

  2. Yes, you are right.

    In any case, would it be possible to have some comparaisons on the return of investissement with respect to other wind generator models?

    Indeed, after some investigations, any Savonius-based generator seems less interesting than other wind generators in terms of generated energy. Compare with Darrieus-based generators, for example. So to get an interesting ROI, the price of this helix generator would require to be quite lower than the competitors. How much would you sell it?

  3. Rex, this is not technically just a savonius. It has elements of lift and drag so it draws on savonius and but moreso the humble aerofoil wing design to make its power. Technically both of these are unpatentable as they are both long since in the public domain. It’s likely that this wind turbine has features and dimensions patented but not the actual wing design as it exists all over the place already.

  4. If Sigurd Savonius get patent year 1924 in Finland for a similar design then Toby Kinkaid’s patent is invalid. And since this was in 1924, it belongs now to the public domain 🙂

    ===> I start my business now :-))))))

  5. If Sigurd Savonius get patent year 1924 in Finland for a similar design then Toby Kinkaid’s patent is invalid. And since this was in 1924, it belongs now to the public domain 🙂

    ===> I start my business now :-))))))

  6. Is this turbine self-starting? and how far off the ground is the perfect height? Im thinking of proposing them for the top of our Middle School, do you think it would be well suited for that?

  7. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Greg, if you had the foresight and knowhow why did you not put the plans in place and patent the design and see your dream through to fruition. Had you been in contact with people of the same fraternity and interest as yourself you should have had them sign an N.D.N.C.A. (non disclosure non circulatory agreement) before discussing and showing your intellectual property.

  8. Hi

    Rotor type is modifild Savonius rotor. Sigurd Savonius get patent year 1924 in Finland.
    Rotor type give low effiency, but high torgue on low wind speed.


  9. Dan, I made up my mind.
    I made it a very long time ago, and when Toby Kinkaid came to me with an underpowered toy, I used the part of the mind I made. I drew the windblade, as that turned out to be the best method of precise and concise communicaton for kinkad to read and understand.

    Their may also be some similar designs of this gadget, yet, I do not care.
    Kinkaid is the one.

  10. Ha ha ha, Greg you’re funny. Was it ‘COPIED’ or did you ‘draw’ it for Toby, make your mind up. I can see from your spelling and grammer that you are clearly a very clever designer so I am totally with you here, how dare Toby use words such as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘use’. Hopefully you will manage to get the patents signed over to your name for the helical savonius – oh wait I think there may a few other helical savonius patents out there. Maybe you should go after those as well? In fact, are you Savonius?

  11. Greg Burkart,

    I don’t know who you are but you must stop making accusations against me. This technology is invented by me, with the patent issued. If you have any issues with this take it up with the US Patent Office, or file a suit, but discontinue your attacks on me. Until you do stop making ridiculous statements.

    1. Just because you do not know who I am does not mean you get to use words like, ‘accusations’, and ‘use’, and ‘technology’, or ‘ridiculous’.
      I am sure you have an idea, as I am the one who drew the blade you copied.
      And, if you do not know who I am, why are you trying to tell me what to do, or how do what I do. You should be thanking me, and congradulating me for a winning design.
      I will accept only credit for the design, and money for each blade sold.
      Focus on the task at hand.
      you owe me money and written appologies, and US PATENT office updates, and a thank you to me, for making your dreams come true.


  13. Get off the grid if you can

    The one in this artical is nice.

    I also found these

    Publicaly traded company could turn into some extra $ if the word were to spread. 4 times greater generation capiblilty and look at the big $ spent on the old stuff in the big companies. I thought that the big companies had well educated people working for them but when I see the lesser efficient more dangerous dont’ work in high wind prop style going up I wonder what is being tought in the schools. Also who is paying for the differance when the wind doesn’t blow or is bloing too hard? The person paying the utility bill, A.K.A. the little guy, and the big company gets to risk workers lives unnecessairly for the higher maintenance time involved with the old prop style, and say look at us we are creating green jobs. What should be said by them is look at us we have more money than brain power.

  14. These are pretty neat but very experimental. Wind generally blows in a single direction at a time with a bit of side to side turbulence maybe. Unless winds blow in a circle, somehow putting a little whirlwind right over this thing… IT WILL HAVE RESISTANCE ON ONE SIDE.

    So, as one side catches wind, harnessing it, the other is resisting wind, torning against it, running into the wind. Think about it.

    Why are there no examples of big utility wind farms using vertical? Because people would get fired. Have a look at WindEnergy7.Com site and all their video footage of actual turbines, inexpensive enough to put on your home, certified to 130 mph. Rooftop Wind Turbine The systems that are pictured and video at WindEnergy7 site are patented rooftop wind turbines that are working on homes and businesses all over the US, available and shipping now. Have a look. And, these systems are actually designed around proven turbine performance that is used in big utility wind farms. They don’t use vertical because of that backside resistance, aerodynamics and physics say it does not work. Vertical was patented in the 1930’s, hasn’t worked (well) yet. Think about it, use your head.

    1. I am not one of the people here looking to bring others down, so know that these are serious concerns from someone simply attempting to do real research on this topic. That being said, all the reading I have done says that wind turbines like the ones that Rooftop Wind Turbine will rip birds to shreds if any contact is made. Is this true? Also, these turbines only capture wind blowing in a single direction. Where I live, the wind patterns are sparatic and miltidirectional. I can’t see them being effective. Any comments? I just want to learn more about this and get real answers from someone who isn’t trying to sell me something.

  15. Auntie Hosebag

    Check out all the negativity by what we can only assume are CEOs of their own wind turbine companies, currently marketing their myriad of products after years of research, trial-and-error, testing, revision, upgrading, etc., etc.


  16. The video clearly demonstrates numerous similarities to various forerunner wind designs. The video also demonstrates major inefficiencies of the design. It seems clear to me that it was not designed by an engineer with aerodynamics knowledge. The ‘racket’ office will sell patents to anybody. There’s nobody home. They are asleep at the wheel. There are thousands of patents on the ball point pen alone.

    I am all about ‘practical’ innovations and from what is demonstrated here, this isn’t one of them. (sorry to say) Keep working on it, you’ll get it sorted out. It is simply too inefficient (comparatively) in it’s current form.



  17. I am in the alternative energy field and I like philosophy of close-to-user-site generation and specifically, the looks of this design. The bottom line:

    If Toby listened to all the nay-sayers out there, he would never have invented anything. My hat’s off to him and all the inventors and entrerpreneurs trying to make the world less dependent on fossil and foreign energy sources.

    — Zehaas Sram

  18. Attempt at selling snake oil usually involved giving little technical information but publishing excessive “great results”, especially on public media. Last I heard such claims are people trying to sell perpetual energy from generators running on water.

  19. This is great.So many people are trying to compare these with hawts but it is obvious that hawts are not viable in urban locations. I like that this company is proposing to make them at a reasonable cost. So many wind companies are charging ridiculous amounts for their products which is helping to put people off. The materials are not expensive. To the people who consistently use the argument that they don’t produce much electricity , all you need to do is look at the cost of one and imagine having four dotted around your house or garden then you could realistically start to think about having a considerable reduction in bills within a year- it’s free after that and will last as long as the product does. The biggest immediate consideration is that I can put these on my hosue or around my property with very little fuss in terms of legality and planning permission. The are not dangerous and don’t make any noise. How many houses have four corners ? Imagine one on each corner.The other one of these that I am fascinated by is the HelixWind , it’s beautiful but those guys are charging enormous amounts for theirs , they are truly not going to change the world by having such a disproportionate cost. I am interested in making vawts even cheaper so much so that it would cheaper in one year to buy a couple than pay the equivalant electricity bill. The energy companies would then be seriously forced to rethink policy.

  20. These vertical designs are not competitive in performance with the more efficient three bladed horizontal axis wind turbines. If you looked at the starting wind speed, they create too much drag to perform well in low wind. Well, low wind is what most people have. Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, and in terms of swept area or footprint, the vertical wind turbines cannot compete favorably against a real, professional wind turbine. Their site has a video of them running without a generator? Like a pinwheel blowing uselessly in the wind. The best rooftop wind turbines are like the ones that has. These are miniature home sized models that are effective like the large Utility Scale wind turbines.

  21. Kasia, the product featured by Mariah Power is neither a spiral as you claim, nor a helical turbine as in the Kincaid design. And if by “perfected” you mean they designed a wind mill capable of chopping to pieces any birds that may fly too near it, then “yeah, they did a great job”.

  22. There are dozens of variations of this design that are currently in development. And as for confidential information, this is wind energy! The designs are impossible to patent protect and prevent others from using. (Companies will never be able to produce these for less than what the average home owner can build them for). The age of patents and confidential information is long gone.

  23. The devil is in the details. The information you’re asking for is confidential. In the 3QR’07 the HelyxTM will be available for purchase, I invite you to test the unit yourself. The Hx40 will be for 12 volt battery charging systems and will cost less than a PV panel of the same power rating. We’ll have brackets for Marine, RV, and pole deployment.

    1. Yeah, ask me.
      I love how he does not even know the answers.

      But, he can sell you a bracket.

      Can we get a bracket to stick on Kenneth Wright’s face?
      I guess we will just have to wait for that one.

      Since, Mr. Kinkaid is currently sticking it on his face.

      Oh, I have a question? Does the bracket work on motorcycles? Just as one would have it, Kenneth Wright would like stick one of these on his moto bikes to make it more sustainable in the wind.

  24. How is this different than the helical design that has been manufactured for 25 years by Windside ( Also, did a search of the USPTO website, and can’t find the patent under your name…

  25. Why is a helix shape used? Is that to get more uniform torque? Wouldn’t that shape make it less effective? I would think it would tend to direct the wind upward lowering the affect of the wind hitting the upper part of the turbine. Has this been wind tunnel tested, simulated, or compared to a more straightened version?

  26. I’ve been awarded a Patent from the US Patent Office for my Helyx Wind Turbine Technology because it is new and unique. You can’t imagine how much work went into this, and how many details are involved. I suggest you do your homework before you make such casual comments.

    1. YOU are the one making Casual comments.
      I am serious about my comment. I designed this blade, and you stole it.
      US patent office cannot protect you.
      I know all about the details.
      I know.
      I am really into people getting credit for what they do.
      You are getting deeper in trouble, the longer you take to fess up.
      You stole my design, and have not paid me, and as for credit for the invention, you failed agian, becuase I recieved none of that…
      it is you can not imagine the details.
      I want MONEY and credit.

    1. NO. It is not a rip off of that.
      I drew it, and Engineered it, as hypocritical as the design seems, it is ok, how I drew it. I advised Mr. Kinkaid to throw his in the garbage, and make it like the drawing I did.
      Mr. Kinkaid ripped it off from me.
      he will pay.

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