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Posted on Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 5:54 a.m.

Accio Energy believes its stationary wind energy device trumps wind turbines

By Nathan Bomey

Activists concerned with the impact of spinning wind turbine blades on the environment may find comfort in a new concept: wind energy without moving parts.

Alternative energy startup Accio Energy, which recently moved into a 12,000-square-foot complex in Pittsfield Township, is developing a proprietary device that generates electricity by using tubular parts and a watery mist to separate electrical charges.

The stationary device, which will range widely in size depending on the circumstances, doesn’t face the same political issues as wind turbines, Accio co-founder Dawn White said Monday.

Dawn White and John Dingell.JPG

Accio Energy co-founder Dawn White speaks Monday to U.S. Rep. John Dingell at the startup company's offices in Pittsfield Township.

Nathan Bomey |

Wind turbines sometimes raise the ire of activists due to concerns about their blades' impact on birds and the way they change the view of a local landscape. Accio’s “aerovoltaic” device, which isn’t yet ready for the market, does not have moving parts and would not be visible from the shore in offshore utility uses.

“It’ll be more acceptable for a lot of reasons,” White said Monday.

White, who has previously called Accio’s device the “Model T of wind energy,” made her comments in a closed-door meeting with U.S. Rep. John Dingell, which was invited to attend.

Dingell, who also met Monday with software startup InfoReady Corp., was intrigued by the concept of a device that could remove the traditional issues associated with wind turbines.

Dingell pointed out that residents of a Cape Cod community fiercely protested a proposed offshore wind farm until the federal government recently approved the project. He liked Accio’s device and asked White how he could help it along, but he also suggested the wind turbine isn’t going anywhere.

“Probably we’re going to have to use both because regrettably there are political components of this,” he said.

White suggested that politics might be on Accio’s side. For example, the company won't need to import rare metals such as lithium, which is used in batteries for electric vehicles. Instead, the company's device would rely heavily on common tubular parts.

“Making a wind turbine is a great business to have in Michigan, but it takes a lot of retooling and re-education,” she said. “This can take what we already have and put it back to work and create jobs.”

Contact's Nathan Bomey at 734-623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Wed, Aug 25, 2010 : 7:52 a.m.

"That process is relatively unpredictable" A process to deliver electricity unpredictably? Isn't that called "DTE"?


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 7:26 p.m.

will believe when we see it ( patent's not locked down?). Even if it works, will it be cost competitive with current technology?

David Rhoads

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

I wonder if this device could replace the radiator in electric vehicles and be used to generate electricty to keep the batteries recharged as the vehicle is driven.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 1:09 p.m.

It sounds like you can mostly figure it out from Kafkaland's comment and Nathan's comment. They ionize a mist of water, the wind pushes the ionized water through a wire-winding pipe and electrostatic induction causes a counter current in the wire. Ionizing the water mist would take some electricity, but the wind is pushing your ions through the pipe for free, so presumably they've figured out how to get more energy out than you need to ionize the water droplets. Whether that's more efficient than a windmill is another question. It reminds me of the difference between photovoltaics and concentrated solar power. Concentrated solar power is more efficient, but you can put photovoltaics just about anywhere. Windmills may turn out to be more efficient, but you could put an array of pipes just about anywhere.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

This is a fascinating project, and I hope it does lead to substantive results down the road. Since in Michigan the wind is obviously a more practical source of renewable energy than the sun, any increase in the diversity of effective methods for exploiting the breezes and gusts off the Great Lakes will be welcome. And, if Accio can ultimately make their scheme work, leading to fewer turbines, the bird population will no doubt feel appreciative. Now, if someone could only find a way to efficiently harness energy from this state's ridiculous amount of annual cloud cover....

Nathan Bomey

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

I've written about this company for about 18 months and the executives are still uncomfortable about revealing too many details about the process until they've got their patents locked down. Hoping to have more on how the technology works and the company's progress in the coming weeks. From what I understand, the technology can be thought of as similar to the way a thunderstorm works. Moisture builds up in the cloud and electrical charges begin to travel to the edges of the cloud, which leads to lightning. That process is relatively unpredictable, however. Accio hopes to create a similar process by running the wind through a very light watery mist, using engineered tubes to harness the electrical charges and generate a current.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

Check out their website. It provides some information. It is indeed a very intrigueing technology. Hope it comes to fruition.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 7:44 a.m.

@braggslaw: The article was indeed quite unclear about how it works, but it sounds to me like an industrial version of Lord Kelivin's thunderstorm generator, which is often used to demonstrate how electric potentials can build up in clouds. In such a generator, water particles with small electrostatic charges are accelerated by the wind, and the kinetic energy is then extracted through electrostatic induction in ring or tube-like devices. The principle as been around for some 150 years, and I suppose it would be nice if they can in fact make it commercially viable.


Tue, Aug 24, 2010 : 7:25 a.m.

I was wondering if anybody had a description on how the technology works. Does it convert kinetic energy(wind) to electrical potential? The article was not clear.