WindPax: Portable Wind Turbines

Small scale wind power is available from the WindPax Kickstarter campaign.

Justin Chambers and his student team from West Virginia University wanted a small power source to be used during outdoor adventures. There weren’t many choices for a small scale unit that could charge their smartphones and other small devices. The team’s solution was to make their own, and the idea for the WindPax was born.

The team developed a set of requirements for the product. It had to be collapsible, durable, portable, light-weight, adaptable and affordable. WindPax is the product they developed to meet all of these needs.

WindPax is a vertical turbine with three collapsible fins that use an internal generator to produce power. A battery stick inside the device can be removed to allow users to plug in their USB and mini-USB devices. Devices can also be charged straight from the turbine.

Set up can be done in under two minutes according to the Kickstarter campaign video, and power can be generated with very small winds. Fins are designed to break-away if winds are dangerous high, mimicing the brake feature of a large scale turbine.

Two levels of WindPax are available, the Wisp for hikers and a mid-size Breeze model. The Wisp has a diameter of three inches and a length of fourteen inches when collapsed, and extends to a six foot height and twelve inch diameter when assembled. Wisp can generate 25 Watts, enough to power six cell phones simultaneously at average wind speed. The battery stick could charge three iPhones when fully charged.

Breeze is larger, collapsing to a twenty two inch length with a five inch diameter. Total height sits at ten feet, and can generate 100 Watts with average wind speeds. The spec page tells us that this could power a MacBook Pro and an iPhone at the same time.

WindPax looks like an incredible product, and is very indicative of the current maker movement to generate power for small specific applications. I do have to admit that the project manager in me cringes when a set of goals are given without specific numbers to measure against, but that’s a small concern.

The WindPax campaign currently sits at around sixty percent funded with a little over three weeks to go. I would love to see the project succeed and have small scale wind power production be as commonplace as wall chargers.