The Virya

The Virya, an electricity-generating windmill

The Virya is an electricity-generating windmill that can be used for lighting, refrigerators to cool medicines, charging mobile phones and laptops. Compared to other high-tech windmills that generate electricity, the Virya is easy to build and costs around €2000.

The mill exists of a three-legged tower which is 12 meters high. This tower is tiltable and consists of two parts. Those two parts can be connected and disconnected to each other and can be fixed by a flange-bolt connection. This makes it easy to transport the windmill.

The generator and the rotor are located on the top. For reasons of simplicity and maintenance, no acceleration gear is installed. The rotor has three wooden blades with a diameter of 3.3 meters. In wind with a force of 6 Beaufort (about 12 meters per second), the windmill can supply 1kW of power.

The WOT has adjusted the windmill to their own insights. The original design was based on a homemade generator, but that’s not useful for third world countries. Therefore a commercially available generator is used. Moreover, an electronic circuit is designed to ensure that the windmill converts the wind as efficiently as possible.

The windmill of the WOT is used for lighting and making coffee. Construction on the Virya was finished in 1997. Major maintenance work was carried out in 2018 by applying new paint and replacing the bearings.

Maintenance on the Virya is relatively easy as the tower is secured on its foundation by a hinged connection. In 2020 the mill had to be taken down for relubrication of the bearings; the whole process including re-erection took only a few hours. With a tractor it could be even faster. Watch a timelapse of the process below: