Couple manufacture wind turbines in Combe Martin
A different breed of pioneering wind turbines have made their way from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to set up home in Combe Martin. Peter and Marie Webb have left the Southern Hemisphere to set up Renewable Energy Innovations UK Limited at Parkhill
A different breed of pioneering wind turbines have made their way from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to set up home in Combe Martin.
Peter and Marie Webb have left the Southern Hemisphere to set up Renewable Energy Innovations UK Limited at Parkhills industrial estate in the village, where they will manufacture turbines very different to the 300ft towers more common to the UK.
The "vertical axis" turbine has upright blades, its "Meccano" style tower is nowhere near as high and it has proved hugely popular in the rest of the world - but a 10 kilowatt version can still generate enough electricity to power three homes, according to Peter Webb.
Chance has blown the couple back to England after 40 years in Australia, but they are keen to tap into the booming green energy market and have already sent out their first order from Combe Martin, with 30 turbines headed for a small wind farm in Sweden.
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Fittingly, their new premises are housed in the same building where one of Devon's first ever prototype turbines was created some 20 years ago.
Today, a number of North Devon companies are being contracted to help make the components and each turbine is the same, with a range of heights available from three to 24 metres, depending on how many sections are added to the framework tower.
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"The advantage of these is they are literally silent," explained Peter.
"They are vertical axis machines, can take their wind from any direction and will work with light winds down to six kilometres an hour. The conventional ones everybody is used to are horizontal axis.
"These can be stand alone units or tied into the national grid. The system was designed for the Pacific islands where sometimes they don't even have the luxury of concrete. They can be used for electricity and for water pumps and can be installed by two people."
The Webbs are still in the process of setting up their premises at Parkhills but expect to produce up to 50 turbines a year. Subject to planning permission, they hope to install a working turbine on the site to show what it can do.
The energy company also produces anaerobic digester systems, which transform organic waste into methane and CO2, one to run electricity generators and the other can be channelled to help nourish plants.
Find out more at www.re-innovations.co.uk or call 07939 556660.