Alabama Inventor Receives Patent For Micro-Wind Turbine

Energias renovables. Parque eolico. Turbinas de vientoAlabama inventor Robert Yost has a dream — he believes his mini wind turbine could be the key to unlocking more fuel-efficient hybrid cars. This summer, he’s setting out to prove his doubters wrong.

Yost is president of Alabama green energy company American Wind, and the proud inventor of the MicroCube. On June 25, Yost excitedly announced on social media that his 3D-printed wind turbine has officially been granted a U.S. patent.

Yost’s MicroCube combines the lift of a jet wing and the blade design of a jet engine to create a micro-turbine that can produce large amounts of energy from even slight breezes, he claims. The company’s YouTube page contains videos showing the turbines in action.

“Those two properties that we’re using actually allows us to get about 100 rpms for every 1 mph wind speed,” Yost says. “That gets quite a bit of rotation on the generator which then produces the power.”

Yost says the nine-inch turbine can produce up to three kilowatts of power. Recently, Yost built a platform that put four MicroCubes on the hood of a Ford C-Max hybrid car. He originally claimed he would drive across country to test the system this summer, but the cross-country road test has been postponed for now.

Yost believes that a successful test would prove the system could turn the air resistance faced by cars into energy that could charge hybrid batteries. Already, hybrid cars are about 20-35% more fuel efficient than regular vehicles. In the U.S., about 2.2 million hybrid cars were sold in 2012, and 4.5 million internationally, and automakers are constantly competing to roll out more energy efficient designs.

If the MicroCube proves successful at converting drag to electricity, then Yost hopes major automakers will adopt the patented system. But like many inventors, Yost has his doubters — critics claim his system won’t be able to overcome the added drag on the vehicle the wind turbines will create.

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