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Windcharmer Energy:
Portable Wind Generator for Disaster Relief

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August 29, 2011 - A new, Indiana based company has designed a portable wind generator which can be shipped into disaster relief areas and remote third world locations to provide emergency electrical power. The new windmill is capable of powering emergency services, including basic electrical requirements like cellular handset re-charging, emergency base stations, and even lighting. The innovative turbine design, developed by Windcharmer Energy, LLC, weighs just a few pounds and may be air lifted to a disaster area in a 24 inch carton weighing less than 20 pounds. The new power system can be set up in minutes to power AM radios for communications and distance learning in remote regions, refrigeration systems for medical supplies, and even submersible well pumps to provide safe drinking water.

The portable wind generator was the idea of two Indiana inventors who began developing their vision for emergency power while monitoring earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. “This very creative and technically capable husband and wife team brought their first working prototype to us for a demonstration and we immediately recognized that the idea was worth commercializing,” stated Scott Bechtel, who is assisting the company management during its early stage growth. Bechtel also runs Lafayette, Indiana based AmiCOUR IP Group, an intellectual property consulting company with locations in Denver and Silicon Valley. He explained, “During disaster events, we almost always see a collapse of the power grid. This can have devastating effects on communications and the ability to coordinate relief efforts.” In addition to design assistance, Bechtel’s company is assisting Windcharmer Energy with its various patent protections and initial seed funding needs.

Brian Fahey, also a Lafayette resident and former corporate CEO, assisted in structuring the new company.  Fahey is part of the management team, helping to build strategic relationships with new commercialization partners like AmiCOUR. Windcharmer Energy plans to produce production ready designs with different power output levels as a milestone toward its second funding round. Fahey explained, “We challenged our team with an ambitious set of design goals and they are meeting them on schedule. The wind turbine needs to be light weight, ship in on standard size pallets in boxes that can be hand carried easily, and assembled on site without using any special tools. Today’s commercial wind power technology didn’t meet any of these goals.”

Fahey described the set up process as roughly equivalent to “pitching a tent,” adding, “we also needed a windmill that would be easy to repair using readily available local materials, and even limited to third world materials. This design goal proved to be one of most challenging requirements that our team faced.”

Windcharmer Energy reports that first generation wind tests were encouraging; and in second generation designs, its engineers have recently demonstrated dramatic improvements in system efficiencies. Additional tests are already underway confirming the advances. The first production models will debut in a trade show planned for October, and then become commercially available on a built-to-order basis. Company representatives indicated that commercial versions of the Windcharmer turbine may also be sold to campers and mountain climbers. Interest in a portable military wind generator is also being addressed.