Engineer Tran Quoc Hieu assembles his wind generator at his workshop in HCM City which he says will bring electricity to people in disadvantaged areas and help protect the environment. — VNS File Photo
The only other similar option is a Chinese version costing $450 which is out of reach of thousands of poor households.
Hieu, 24, who attended HCM City University of Technology, said the three-bladed horizontal axis turbine had the capacity of 70kW per month, enough power to light up 20 50W bulbs within 42 hours.
It could be operated at wind speeds of 5m/s which occurred in coastal, mountainous and island regions, or at a third-storey level in urban houses, Hieu said.
The life span of the generator was expected to be about seven years. Hieu said his design had three advantages over others on the market. Its propellers were more aerodynamic and thus more efficient, it used a bigger dynamo which produced more power, and it automatically cut off when the battery was full, thus extending the life of the dynamo.
Hieu, who studied in an advanced engineer training programme under professors from the French Grenoble Institute of Technology, said he began thinking of the turbine after a discussion on renewable energy with one of his lecturers.
"Vietnam is rich in wind resources. I thought a generator made in Vietnam would not only help poor people in remote areas, it would also encourage people in urban areas to help save hydro power and protect our environment," Hieu said.
The prototype took about a year to design and build. Technical drawings and selecting materials proving the most difficult part of the process.
Then it was tested in a household for a month where it operated well, except that the wooden turbine propellers were found to be less durable than those made from fibre.
This required new plans for the props which will be covered with a fibre skin.
Hieu is co-operating with a company in southern Binh Duong Province's Song Than Industrial Park to produce the generator which should come on the market in the middle of next year.
Meanwhile, Hieu has moved on to other things. He said he wants to make a hovercraft and underwater turbines over the next two years before doing a PhD at Vietnam-German University in HCM City.