Wind turbines are one of the more controversial sources of clean energy, with critics blasting the towering structures for being noisy and constituting an eyesore among their natural surroundings – to which we say, have you ever seen what an open-cut mine looks like?
In any case, it'd be hard to complain about these cute little personal power stations. US-based clean energy startup Janulus has taken the wind turbine concept and shrunk it down to miniature proportions, resulting in the 'Trinity': a diminutive propeller-based generator that lets you make your own clean energy wherever you are.
The brainchild of Einar and Agust Agustsson, two brothers from Iceland, the Trinity is said to be the first personal-sized wind turbine to hit the market, although there's at least one other that we're aware of. The company's first model was successfully crowd-funded last year on Kickstarter and began shipping this month, and now the brothers are expanding the range with four new versions.
Depending on your power needs, it seems there's a Trinity turbine to fit the bill. The smallest model, the Trinity 50, weighs just 650 grams and easily fits inside your backpack, being just 30 cm tall when collapsed. It generates 50 watts, and its 7,500 mAh Lithium-ion battery stores enough power to recharge a smartphone three or four times. It can also be used to help power a tablet or notebook.
Stepping things up a notch or two, the Trinity 400 can power small appliances, and the Trinity 1000 caters to caravans. The big daddy of the range, the Trinity 2500, includes a massive 300,000 mAh battery, which can charge a smartphone 160–170 times – not that it's intended for such trivial pursuits. Standing 2 metres tall when erected, it's intended for more seriously power-guzzling purposes, like running your home or electric car.
One issue we could see with the Trinity is experiencing insufficient wind gust at ground level. Conventional wind turbines have the advantage of catching the breeze at markedly elevated heights, whereas personal users won't easily or safely be able to do the same thing. Trinity's makers seem to have anticipated this with the product's design, however, with videos on the Kickstarter page explaining how you can use the device in two different modes depending on your wind conditions.
The Agustsson brothers seem to have hit a nerve with their new range, as within two days of listing their project on Kickstarter, the revamped Trinity line has already been fully funded, and at time of writing still has 28 days left on the clock. Exciting stuff – especially if personal solar chargers aren't doing it for you.