Herald Bulletin 8/24/17
ANDERSON – Motorists driving along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard might notice a small wind turbine in the corner of the Ricker’s convenience
store. For an Anderson company, the turbine is the first it hopes may soon dot the skyline.
Local business owner Pete Bitar obtained a patent in 2014 for the 3-kilowatt turbines that can provide supplemental electrical power to small businesses
Bitar said his company AirBuoyant is working with Purdue Research to license the concept to other wind turbine companies to produce the one- or twoblade
The turbine at the Ricker’s store will provide electrical energy to power the street signs. Bitar said three are being installed at the Purdue Polytechnic
Institute on Scatterfield Road.
Madison County has purchased two of the turbines but the exact location has not been determined, Bitar said.
Bitar said the three turbines at the Purdue College of Technology will provide 9 kilowatts of electricity and, working in conjunction with Go Electric, will
light the entire building.
“You won’t be able to disconnect from the grid,” he said. “But you will save on the cost of electricity. The turbines can power a house or small business.”
Don Knight | The Herald BulletinAn air turbine made by local company AirBuoyant generates 3 kilowatts of power at the Ricker’s
location on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Anderson. “It’s a good way to talk about wind power and sustainable energy,”
said Ricker’s owner Jay Ricker. “It’s in a visible location.”
Bitar said the cost to install a turbine is $20,000.
“We want to use the turbines in Madison County to show to other potential buyers,” he said.
Unlike the commercial wind farms, like the one in northern Madison County, the turbines AirBuoyant is marketing have a smaller footprint, only extending
to 35 feet in the air, Bitar said.
“There is less of a footprint in the sky,” he said. “Like, for off shore wind farms, these would not be as visible but would generate electrical power.”
Bitar said there are single- and dual-blade models. The blades on the dual model would be capable of turning in opposite directions, which would
eliminate the shadow flicker in one direction, he said.
“We have gotten some interest from other businesses, mostly local,” he said. “We’re working right now with Purdue to market the turbines.”
Jay Ricker, owner of Ricker Oil, said the turbine was a donation to Purdue Polytechnic.
“It’s a good way to talk about wind power and sustainable energy,” he said. “It’s in a visible location.”
Ricker said there are charging stations for electric vehicles at nine of the Ricker’s stores in Indianapolis.
Bitar said the turbines could be a way in the future to provide electrical energy for the charging stations.
“It’s kind of cool that a store selling petroleum products would be putting up a wind turbine,” he said. “It ties in with BP’s clean energy campaign.”
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.