Wind energy can now be used in smaller environments and in remote locations thanks to Diffuse Energy.
We've all seen those huge wind turbines on hills or in photos of the ones offshore, but wind is everywhere. (I just had to lean our basketball hoop onto the ground as it's a really windy day here which I took as a clear sign to write this article...).
The product is conceptually simple. A wind turbine, but smaller. Here is a pic with the team to show the scale.
The hard part is to make it produce efficient energy despite its scale. Some of the areas they team talk about working on include:
- Power curve - optimising the power extracted based on the wind speed - faster is not always better.
- Noise output - below 45 dB(A) or 'quiet radio music' as used by Safe Work Australia (Is that quiet classical or rock?).
- Safety - the product is build according to the international small wind turbine design standard.
- Life - Diffuse claim to have a UX exposure life of 20 years, which leaves plenty of time for return on impact and investment.
- Wildlife impact - there are claims that big windmills cause significant wildlife damage. Diffuse has a shroud which hopefully helps, along with higher rotational speed deterring critters.
- Rated power : 220w
- Rated wind speed : 11 m/s (40 km/h)
- Peak Power : 1000W (17m/s)
- Total diameter : 920 mm
- Output Voltage : 14, 48VDC
- Mass : 18.5 kg
- UV Protection : 20 years
- Yaw : Passive Yaw System (Automatic spinning to align to the wind)
Home turbines are something we will see more of down the track (I want one!), but right now a big opportunity for products like Diffuse are industrial and remote sites. One of the huge infrastructure costs of energy is getting it everywhere it's needed. Typically this is done with big, top down grids that generate massive power, and push it down the line. Increasingly big grids are being supported by micro grids, which have their own challenges of sourcing and distributing power and operating like mesh networks. Solar is helping here but doesn't work all the time and in all situations.
Wind can be a great source of energy in a lot of situations. Remote industrial sites, farms, monitoring towers, cell towers, temporary locations and mobile units.
Diffuse faces the usual issues of early stage tech of 'crossing the chasm'. They have the product, it works, but how do they get it out in 1,000's. Here is where software has the advantage of marginal variable cost. With hardware you need to deal with manufacturing, distribution, support, maintenance.
They will also face competition from other small turbine producers and energy options such as hydro, geo thermal and even nuclear (one day).
I love the focus of Diffuse. This is what we need in 100's of areas of energy generation, supply and use.
The value of 'small wind' should not be underestimated;
- Complement solar - (and other energy sources)
- Overnight energy - works when the sun is down
- Good for batteries - charge em up!
- Saves space - a small physical footprint to match the reduced carbon footprint.
- Impact - less use of generators, more access to power in remote areas. This could wonderfully fill in the smaller gaps between giant wind infrastructure.
- Team - the team has real hardware cred, well supported by advisors who have scaled companies globally.
- Product - simple, defensible, proven
- Market - the known market is big and the potential new use market is even bigger.
- Traction - it is fairly early for Diffuse, but they have strong momentum with new customers. Accessing big markets is the next big test.
From The Founders:
Company: Diffuse Energy
Themes: Powering,Energy,Reduce emissions,Remove emissions,Business
Summary: Wind energy for microgrids
Founders: Joss Kesby, James Bradley
Product stage: LaunchedPowering,Energy,Reduce emissions,Remove emissions,Business
Capital raising: We have completed a Pre-seed round in early 2020 and a Seed round earlier this year.
We are aiming to be the world's leading producer of wind energy in off-grid and microgrid locations, complementing solar and batteries to remove the need for diesel generation.
Why the team wants to solve this problem:
Power is a mainstay of modern life. We want to help everyone without access to a reliable power network to provide their own power, renewably.
What are other climate tech companies you admire:
Tesla - they have changed the direction of the automobile industry (and we would love to have one!)
SwitchDin are bringing the smarts to evolve the grid to a smarter, cleaner, distributed version