26 September 2010
Imagine you could go to Home Depot and for a few hundred dollars purchase an appliance that plugs in like a blender and generates a chunk of the energy your home needs, renewable and emissions-free. This dream may be just 12-to-18 months from stores.
Once a pioneer at RealNetworks in Seattle, Chad Maglaque was at Google HQ last week talking informally with engineers about his invention The Jellyfish. It’s a 36-inch-tall rooftop wind turbine that you can plug into a socket in your home--no fancy setup required--and generate up to 40 kWh a month, about enough to power a home-full of LEDs or a room full of CFLs. It also comes Wi-Fi and WiMax equipped. He calls it the PC of renewable energy. "We could have 10,000 of these sitting in a city, networked—it’s like a virtual utility," he told me. His idea is that the utility or the city will subsidize the $400 cost down to $199 or less with tax rebates. He estimates it’s 12-to-18 months from store shelves, provided it clears all safety inspections. The Jellyfish is a semi-finalist for the Google Project 10 to the 100th contest--$10 million for the 5 ideas that helps the most people.