Groundbreaking wind energy company struggling
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 6:38p.m.
By Tony Field
Two unique New Zealand wind energy inventions may have to be scrapped or go offshore because of a lack of funding.
One of them has already won the promise of a huge grant from the Ministry of Science and Innovation, but only if it can win the same amount from private investors.
Dunedin inventor Bill Currie has spent years working on his innovative wind turbine. The single blade is designed to generate electricity for home use.
The Ministry of Science and Innovation is so impressed it has promised him $368,000, but only if he can secure matching funding from private investors by the end of next month.
“We have a petty tight deadline and if we don’t find it I’m afraid that's probably going to be the end of the project in the meantime,” says Mr Currie.
He's not alone.
Gyro Technologies has spent years developing the prototype it hopes could be used in wind farms around the world.
It is designed to replace standard gearboxes, which often breakdown.
“Even if our business cannot do it, someone will pick it up and do it in the course of time,” says inventor Jega Jegatheeson.
There has been interest, but only from overseas.
“We seriously never did or want to take it offshore because we want to create work in New Zealand, but that is one of the options that we are currently exploring,” says TP Engineering general manager Tony Herewini.
Gyro Technologies says there needs to be better collaboration between the private and public sectors, so companies can secure reliable funding.
“You end up getting lumps of funding here and there,” says Gyro Technologies advisor Warren Snow. “The project goes for a little while then it stops. It runs out of money and the team disbands.”
Both companies are hopeful they'll find an angel investor and one who is based here in New Zealand.
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3/07/2012 8:49:48 p.m.
Warren snow wrote:
Great comments Molly and so true. There is a potential cluster of kiwi renewable energy technologies in new Zealand that if supported could add enormous value to the NZ economy. We need people that are prepared to invest in that economy and be more patient about when they start to get a return.
29/06/2012 3:33:26 p.m.
Molly Melhuish wrote:
This is just two more examples of superb NZ technology that can't compete in a commercial environment dominated by large generator-retailers. Windflow Technology is another, huge, loss to NZ manufacturing - once its 50-turbine wind farm was completed, no large generating company would make use of the technology.
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