Is it indispensable to be a “creator” or a “creative” in order to innovate? Not really.
The story of New Wind begins with the simple observation of leaves on a tree that flutter with the slightest breath of wind. What can one do with the energy produced by these hundreds of thousands of leaves? Why not transform each of these leaves into little windmills (air motors) by dissimulating them within the structure of a tree?
Enlarge the field of possibilities
It didn’t take more in order to produce a rupture innovation, breaking away from what must have taken years of R&D within the highly confidential laboratories of the industrial giant CleanTech, producing oversized windmills, with ever more powerful turbines in order to seek the wind at higher altitudes.
The concept is simple: l’Arbre à Vent® sweeps away the traditional conception of the windmill air motor with three blades perched on top of a mast. It is a stylized tree with a trunk, branches, and mobile leaves in the form of turbines which turn around their axis. The production of electricity is thus ensured by the rotation of the turbine leaves which, blown by the wind, act like little windmills causing the rotation of generators attached at their base. The alternate current is then transformed into continuous current in order to enter the network for providing light or energy production. It suffices then to plant these Arbres à Vent (wind trees) capable de capturing any air flow and all types of wind, whether it is regular or turbulent and whatever might be the direction.
A « windfall » for all of the city centers and their peripheries, parking areas, and industrial sites, open to air currents and wind flow. This is a considerable energy potential, but unexploited by the major air motor windmills because it is difficult to program (fluctuating or multidirectional winds), particularly because the existing turbines are not adapted for capturing these winds.
The wind trees are not only discrete and attractive; they are also ecologically responsible, with no CO2 emitted or any extra costs related to transporting the energy. In other words, it is truly a rupture innovation that can only exist with validation by the marketplace.
To succeed with a rupture innovation
Thinking about patents is important but the real challenge is elsewhere. The engineers in the startup New Wind have well understood this. This strategy of rupture innovation has somewhat the objective of profiting from the “autism” of the big competitors, often only having confidence in tried and tested solutions, theirs… First step : Escape from the predominant thinking in the sector – that of the big air motor windmill manufacturers – and get established in the small windmill market which for the moment only concerns farmers and the fans of alternative energy sources.
Second step: become the standard reference of local towns, city areas and individuals by making them loyal to a solution outside of the traditional one.
Third step: grow in this niche market developing a specific know-how that the competitors don’t have, and consolidating the positioning and the margins by staying ahead. What can be more logical than to position oneself in a fast growing market? Only 15% of electricity production is coming from renewable energy, the rest comes from nuclear energy and fossil energy. The growth potential of windmill energy is thus considerable. With a KW/hour price that should increase by 30% between now and 2016 and by 50% between now and 2020, the production of low cost windmill energy makes a lot of sense.
New Wind has fully taken into account all of this, having a team of engineers and an exceptional designer for a development which should be solidly supported. This is already the case with the first two excellent partners chosen: Hoffsfields Finance Limited, a Brazilian investment company, an early believer in this great venture in exchange for 15% of the capital of New Wind, and Extruflex, a European leader in extrusion, which manufactures the turbine leaves of New Wind. These are solid advantages for an innovative enterprise knowing how to marry technology and design ensuring the evolution of the standards of this industry in full expansion.
Gilles Bouchard – VP Harvard Angels France