June 24, 08
Leviathan Energy Creates Most Efficient Wind Turbine of Its Kind

Leviathan Energy founder Dr. Daniel Farb believes he has created the most efficient wind turbine of its class in the world.

Farb, 53, of Beit Shemesh, founded the company in 2006 and employs eight people full time - a mix of immigrants and native Israelis. He also employs a number of people on a part-time or contract basis both in Israel and abroad. He told the Post his team had obtained brand new data from their testing site at the Rotem Industrial Park in the Negev which backed up his claims.

Wind and water turbines have generated some controversy as to their potential for large outputs of electricity.

Small wind turbines are intended to be erected on homeowners' roofs to provide a portion of the house's electrical needs. Larger wind farms exist around the world to produce higher amounts of electricity.

"The cut-in speed [on the Wind Lotus wind turbine] was two meters per second. That means the wind speed at which the turbine starts to rotate. It tells you indirectly how aerodynamically efficient the turbine is. The equivalent turbines on the market start at three meters per second.

"This is a highly significant improvement and makes it the most efficient in its class in the world by a significant percentage. We expect that the next, commercial version will be even better, as we still have not finished our optimization and our data collection. Farb's success has not only come from inventing new types of turbines, but from structuring the flow into the turbines. "By structuring the input of the wind or water we can make them hit the blades better and greatly increase their efficiency," he said.

"We are starting to take orders for our first mass production run, which should be in a few months, and will offer a reduced price to Israelis who place an order for that first run.

"One meaning of our testing is that the Wind Lotus without subsidies is more cost-effective than solar panels with subsidies," he told the Post.

Farb, an ophthalmologist by profession, who has also been the CEO of an e-learning company and has authored many books, has invented several types of wind and water turbines to produce renewable electricity. His inventions harness the power of the wind, the waves and the underwater currents. He has even invented a turbine which fits into pipes and uses their natural flow to generate electricity.

Farb had his first breakthrough moment at the Weizmann Science Park, appropriately enough.

"Most wind turbines only start turning at three meters per second. 5-6 meters gets good energy. The UK has very good winds at 8-10 meters. Israel is much milder with 3-4 meters per second, sometimes slower. One of my small wind turbines starts producing at less than one meter per second. That is an exceptional figure.

"The same kinds of principles apply to underwater systems. If we can get more energy from slower flow we can get much more energy from faster flow," he explained.

"The Israeli government is behind other industrialized countries in setting goals and subsidies for renewable energy," Farb claimed.

Some Scandinavian countries already produce as much as 10 percent of their electricity through renewable sources. Israel hovers at around 1%.

"They are working now at catching up and should be encouraged. My point is that the country should be a leader, not a follower. In addition, I believe that with no regulatory barriers to the implementation of my inventions, I could make a significant contribution to enabling Israel to have much more than 20% of its electricity from renewables within five years," he declared.