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A New Spin -
The Lux Turbine

By Collections Curator Ruth Bitner

Saskatoon inventor Glen Lux is on to something innovative in the world of wind power.

My interest in wind turbines goes back to a fourth year engineering project at the U of S in 1987. - Glen Lux, 2013

After selling his construction business in 2002, Humboldt-born Lux started experimenting with wind turbines. Most conventional wind turbines are the horizontal axis type (HAWT). But it was the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) that intrigued Lux, a concept most others had given up because of inherent design flaws.

HAWT, Centennial Wind Farm, Swift Current area, 2007
R. Bitner photo

World’s largest VAWT, Cap Chat, Quebec, 2009
R. Bitner photo

One-Man Show

I’m a one-man show, doing all the design, construction and testing here in Saskatoon. - Glen Lux, 2013

Lux set about to perfect the vertical axis design. He recognized that one way to solve the problems in previous VAWT designs might be to use more than four blades and to stabilize them with steel cross-cables. He attached guy cables to the top of the turbine which also increased stability. After much experimentation, including construction and analysis of 28 prototypes, Lux was ready to have his idea tested by the experts.

Surprising the Skeptics

They were shocked to see the results and congratulated me.
Glen Lux, 2013

Using computer models, the National Research Council Institute of Aerospace Research in Ottawa analyzed the structure and performance of the Lux VAWT on two turbines of different sizes. Midway through the test phase, Lux suggested removing the central tower common to other VAWTs. Though initially skeptical that Lux’s concept would work any better than previous designs, the Lux turbine performed surprisingly well.

Lux turbine installation, Saskatoon, 2013
R. Bitner photo

The Lux Advantage

• less expensive to build and operate than conventional HAWT turbines
• ground level control system is simpler and easier to access
• uses less land because the turbines can be placed closer together
• runs more smoothly and power output is more consistent
• quieter and less dangerous to birds

Outlook for the Future

Construction of a new prototype, 45 metres tall with a diameter of 25 metres, about twice the size of the existing example, is set for 2013 in the Swift Current area. Its power output is estimated to be 100 KW.

Further in-depth testing is required before the Lux turbine is ready for commercial production.

As demand for renewable energy increases, so too does interest in wind power. The Lux turbine offers a new Saskatchewan-born approach.

Lux Turbine a Worldwide Contest Winner

Glen Lux scored a big win, taking first place in the Sustainable Technologies category of the 2013 Create the Future Design Contest, a competition that attracts new engineering ideas from around the world. Lux will receive his award at a ceremony in New York later this fall.

I am very excited to announce that the Lux Wind Turbine was awarded first place ...I feel privileged to win the Sustainable Technologies category, prevailing over many very good applications.
- Glen Lux, 2013

The contest was created in 2002 by the publishers of NASA Tech Briefs magazine, self- described as the largest circulation design engineering magazine worldwide, to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation worldwide.

Lux’s turbine one more example that proves innovation is very much alive and well in Saskatchewan.

Wind Turbine Model

This model of the Lux turbine was built for demonstration at the 2012 American Wind Energy Association conference in Atlanta, Georgia. It was donated to the WDM in 2012 and is on exhibit at the Saskatoon WDM.

You might also be interested in:

Sketch of indoor Wind Exhibit- Winds of Change exhibit at WDM Saskatoon

- More Saskatchewan Innovations

- About the WDM Collection

- How to donate an artifact