Pivotal Aero is developing a hybrid wind/solar turbine for nano-grid energy generation and individual energy generation, called the M3



Pivotal Aero is specializing in developing a hybrid wind/solar solution for nano-grid energy generation and individual energy generation. Currently, Pivotal Aero is in the process of developing and prototyping a cutting edge wind turbine/solar skin structure called the M3 Hybrid, which will operate on a nano-grid / micro grid level with other hybrids. The M3 Hybrid combines a high-efficiency, compound annular wind turbine with mounted solar skin and single axis tracking capable of increasing power and energy density while maintaining durability and stability. In comparison to un-ducted, mono-propeller wind extraction technologies, the M3 Hybrid is smaller (10 ft. diameter) and provides external aesthetic qualities compatible with residential and rural settings. Wind and solar, even in the most hospitable climates, are intermittent power sources. The innovative M3 Hybrid design provides secure energy generation by optimizing solar and wind power production depending on the climate conditions. 

Videos and still images of the M3 Hybrid prototype development can be found at:


What are the key outcomes and impact of your solution?

Utility and grid operators’ wholesale electricity purchase from carbon based power generation companies (coal and Natural Gas fired plants) are competitively priced with renewables. The goal is to implement the M3 into clusters in rural settings to provide an alternative source of power generation, thereby decreasing CO2 emissions, or target emerging countries with basic access to electricity. Retail electricity rates are rising nationally and vary state to state (.06 cents p/kWh - .$.40 cents p/kWh). Natural Gas prices are susceptible to volatile swings on the spot market for day ahead power delivery contracts. Attendant CO2 and CO2e emissions from carbon sources are also rising, unabated, and detrimental to the current and next generation of humans.

Based on data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. residential home uses approximately 10,837 kWh in electricity consumption per year, amounting to 14 lbs. of CO2 pollution. Non-renewable electricity generation is harmful to the environment and is the third largest source of household CO2 waste. With the increasing efficiency of renewable energy including advancements in photovoltaic technology and wind turbine design, clean energy generation can economically match the retail cost of large utility energy generation on a nano-grid level. 

For years, the centralized power grid has successfully delivered electricity to billions. Because centralized power is so large and interconnected, it is susceptible to physical and cyberattacks. In August 2003, 50 million people lost electricity as a result of a malfunctioning power line in Cleveland, which is to this day, the largest blackout in U.S. history. Worldwide, regulators, policymakers, and investors are searching for cleaner, more stable energy solutions. Nano and micro-grid power (~10kW – 100 kW) remedies this problem delivering competitively priced electricity costs arising from the declining cost of energy storage solutions and from the increased efficiency of renewable energy. Additionally, lithium-ion battery costs have fallen by 40% since 2010, solar panels are 80% cheaper than they were in 2009, and wind turbine prices have dropped up to 35% since 2008. Combined, Pivotal Aero can position itself appropriately to enter this emerging market at a time when we can substantially revolutionize the small-scale energy sector.


What actions do you propose to realize your stated goals?

Pivotal Aero will target rural emerging communities that have rudimentary developments in electricity generation. Pivotal Aero will capitalize on the large market opportunity in rural settings of emerging economies, namely India. About one-fourth of the Indian population lacks access to electricity. The Center for Development Finance estimates that the microgrid industry in India will reach $2.1 billion annually. Pivotal Aero will not only have a first-mover’s advantage in the infant Indian microgrid market, it will also benefit from the rising demand of combined solar and wind sources.India’s onshore wind power cost was estimated at 6 to 9 cents/kWh in 2008.[1] Pivotal Aero’s cost per kWh will be competitively priced and will have the advantage of size and wildlife deterrence, compatible with many of the targeted rural settings. Pivotal Aero will launch the M3 Hybrid in residential settings for $0 down installation with a multi-payer Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and break into the small scale, microgrid market. Battery banks will capture surplus electricity and use it to cushion the surges and bumps in solar and wind production. Excess electricity will be supplied back to the grid or stored for peaks in demand.

Pivotal Aero's technology is a key factor in offsetting carbon emissions and providing reliable power generation for emerging communities:

The M3 Hybrid consists of a compound, dual annulus/annular wing, counter rotating propeller blades, dual rotor/turbine system, consisting of variable and/or fixed vanes on the inner walls, horizontal and vertical stabilizers connecting the forward and after ducts, and vortex generators for flow attachment along the inner/outer duct walls circumferentially arranged for efficient harvesting of wind energy. The performance of rotors/propellers/fans within a shroud or duct improve turbine efficiency by minimizing losses at the rotor/propeller tip, provided suitable clearance between the propeller tip and shroud are met in these axial flow systems. Ducted propellers/ducted fans provide high static thrust per rotor diameter than an un-ducted propeller. Un-ducted, mono-propeller Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) turbines deflect away a significant portion of the incoming free-stream resulting in lower turbine efficiency and power production and vortex shedding also creates turbulence at the blade tip. As well, flow efficiencies are also lost in un-ducted, mono-propeller systems as wind flow passes through the propeller in these axial flow systems. The energy in the wind that is lost due to deflection, tip clearance, vortex shedding, and flow through the propellers cannot be recovered and extracted in conventional un-ducted, mono-propeller systems.

Lanchester-Betz-Joukowski law limits the maximum energy conversion efficiency of 59.23% when the axial wind speed is reduced by â?? across a single rotor disc. However, practical wind turbines convert significantly less than 40% of the power available in the wind per rotor sweep area into electrical energy. Hence, nearly 60% of the potential wind power per rotor swept area escapes without being harnessed. The primary reason may be that a single rotor cannot be designed to achieve large changes in velocity or enthalpy. However, a compound turbine system provides more rotor sweep area than a single, mono-propeller system of the same diameter. The power output of a wind turbine is directly related to the swept area of its blades. The larger the diameter of its blades, the more power it is capable of extracting from the wind. Power captured by the rotor is linear. If the swept area is doubled as in the M3 Hybrid, then so to be the amount of energy it can capture.

The M3 Hybrid is designed to maximize the flow field along the inner duct wall and also at the outer duct walls for the benefit of streamlining flow through the duct (maintain flow attachment) and to direct high velocity flow to the after turbine tips to begin rotation, as well as maintain a low pressure area downstream of the forward propeller.

Free-stream wind flow approaching the embodiment in practical operation is often turbulent flow. Unsteady aerodynamics in the form of wind shear, rapidly shift cross-wind, gusting winds, and gale force wind is a cause of flow separation common to ducted/shrouded/diffuser turbines.

Vortex generators are commonly used in aviation, situated along the leading edge as a percentage to chord to delay flow separation. Flow separation can be a potential problem in ducted as well as un-ducted wind turbine systems. Vortex generators delay flow separation. Vortex generators are positioned in the annulus leading edge annular wing and are affixed in such a way that they have an angle of attack (a.o.a.) with respect to the local airflow. In addition, the use of vortex generators augments the stream wise vorticity within a separating boundary layer, increasing the fluid momentum near the surface and thus delaying separation.

Capacity factor sharply increases to a range of 45-60% where wind and solar resources overlap with the distributed generation load center.  The estimated levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of the M3 Hybrid in Class 4-6 wind sites is .08 cents p/kWh (before subsidies). The M3 Hybrid varies in diameter from 10’ (ft.) to 26’ (ft.) for combined systems up to 10kW, based on local wind and solar resources.

The LCOE drops further to .058 cents p/kWh (before subsidies) for 100KW rated combined system at approximately 50’ (ft.) in diameter.  This is a combined wind and solar capacity factor and combined systems LCOE estimate.  At a distributed generation level for nano and micro grids, the M3 Hybrid can effectively compete against carbon retail electricity from utilities and grid operators, through a utility – connected nano grid (UNG) or utility-connected micro-grid (UMG).

Not all roofs are eligible due to location and structural load to support rooftop solar arrays for distributed generation. Pivotal Aero is developing the M3 Hybrid to withstand hurricane force gusts of up to 160mph to ensure “peace of mind” to the nano and micro grid customers and ease of permitting.  Inclusion of storage as a follow on, but non-proprietary technology, allows the nano and micro grid to store excess capacity during off peak demand for later consumption of electricity, emergency power management, and potentially for heating. Powering the nano and micro grids with the M3 Hybrid requires no infrastructure investment in transmission and distribution, such as High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) lines.  Further, since nano and micro grids have pre-existing transmission lines and lower load demand, less strain or “power bottlenecking” is placed on the existing grid infrastructure.

Patented M3 Hybrid compound ducted design provides higher efficiency in wind extraction based on coefficient of performance derived from Lanchester-Betz-Joukowski limit. The M3 Hybrid takes a multidisciplinary approach to the design configuration, integrating ducted fan technology (aviation-aerodynamics), specifically the use of a positive cambered duct (airfoil geometry), vortex generators, internal duct heating to prevent ice formation, fixed and variable stator vane(s) and nacelle to augment, streamline and disrupt fluid flow in ducted fan/ducted wind turbine systems. SolarSkin rests atop the annular wings to increase power density without significantly altering the design of the turbine.

Wind turbines generally need to be placed 3-10 rotor diameters apart depending on the individual circumstances of the site. Pivotal Aero has plans to expand its business development team to locate and purchase property for M3 cluster developments. Locating land will firstly require both suitable wind speeds and solar insolation as well as proximity to communities requiring electricity. Clusters will service local communities, homes, commercial customers, and more. Upon securing land, Pivotal Aero will deploy or establish a team in the region and complete construction.

Potential threats to business in India are: corruption and large-scale utility’s dismissal of renewable energy production mandates, as well as direct investment in renewables by large corporations. To overcome these obstacles, Pivotal Aero will market the M3 to communities and set up operations in regions of interest. In a community such as India, 

Who will take these actions?

Johann Q. Sammy: Founder

Mr. Sammy founded the company in 2010, assembled teams and a network of collaborators and consultants from various engineering disciplines to advance designs of proprietary renewable energy technologies. B.S. Business Finance, University of Laverne, Laverne CA. Mr. Sammy holds 2 U.S. patents and 2 U.S. pending applications for a: compound annular wing turbine, active circulation control wing technology application, aerodynamic structures with solar panels and lighting, and a ducted propulsion system.

Samip Desai: Project Leader, Co-Founder

Mr. Desai is a current senior at Duke University studying Mechanical Engineering and Economics. He has worked with and conducted research on several clean technologies. Mr. Desai has been with Pivotal Aero since spring, 2013 working on market research and transitioning to solar panel technology and mechanical design. 

Kenneth Skeer, Co-Founder

Ken brings a diverse skill set to Pivotal Aero intial videography and marketing efforts. Ken has background in Filmmaking and Real Estate development.  Ken graduated from  Boston University with a  BA in Marketing and received a business finance certificate from Harvard University. On the ground, Ken leads prospective customer site development with individual and municipal contacts in Massachusetts.

Additionally, we look forward to welcoming more co-founders, collaborators and team members as development and funding facilitate.

Target geography

Pivotal Aero's target geography will be New England communities and emerging rural communities across the globe. Countries such as India have expressed keen interest in expanding renewable energy access in areas with sufficient energy poverty and without reliable grid energy. 

India is on pace to become the most populous country in the world. Its rate of electrification has not matched the country’s rising energy demand. India has committed to increasing India’s renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts (GW) by the year 2022, 100 GW of which is expected to come from solar sources. This installation would skyrocket India’s renewable energy capacity from 10 to 32% of its total energy. India currently has 4 GW of solar capacity installed, the rest being mostly wind, and has an average solar insolation of 5.5 to 6.0 kWh/m²/day as well as excellent coastal conditions for wind turbines with class 3-5 wind sites.

India is a country in its early stages of urbanization and modernization at a time when technology costs of solar and wind are becoming price competitive with coal and natural gas. Pivotal Aero is positioned to deploy and develop microgrid clusters along India’s coastline, where several coal plants are facing increased opposition, and in dominant wind states such as Gujarat. The currently utility grid system is outdated and is not designed to serve populations too far to reach. If India’s goal of electrification is to be accomplished, rural regions where more than 300 million people are not connected to the grid must be provided with reliable energy solutions. Current distribution systems in India is also in need of overhaul, as transmission losses average anywhere from 25 to 50% in some regions; poorly installed power lines can also be extremely dangerous and unreliable. In July of 2012, a nationwide blackout left 300 million people without electricity. By avoiding grid-tied solutions, Pivotal Aero is able to configure plans that best suit each location’s specific energy needs. By 2040, decentralized rooftop solar and off-grid projects will constitute 90 GW of energy capacity in India.

Transparency Market Research forecasts the global microgrid market to reach $35.1 billion by 2020, with a 20.7 percent compound annual growth rate from 2014 to 2020. Worldwide, regulators, policymakers, and investors are searching for cleaner, more stable energy solutions. Nano and micro-grid power (~10kW – 100 kW) remedies this problem delivering competitively priced electricity costs arising from the declining cost of energy storage solutions and from the increased efficiency of renewable energy. Additionally, lithium-ion battery costs have fallen by 40% since 2010, solar panels are 80% cheaper than they were in 2009, and wind turbine prices have dropped up to 35% since 2008. Combined, Pivotal Aero can position itself appropriately to enter this emerging market at a time when we can substantially revolutionize the small-scale energy sector.

Pivotal Aero will initially target local communities, telecommunication towers, and large corporations in a nano/microgrid setting who are either seeking to bring electricity to their home/project or reduce carbon emissions. Currently, datacenters around the world are beginning to show expressed interest in renewable energy power generation systems. Reliable, 24-hour power generation would serve as a clean, safe alternative to coal and natural gas, which is volatile and harmful to the environment.

Capacity factors of small scale, stand-alone renewable power generators are significantly low primarily for solar arrays and rooftop panels (approx.. 8-15%) in the Northeast and for small wind/micro wind machines, land based, in Class 2-4 wind sites (approx. 15-22%). Lower capacity factor results in increased cost per KWh produced, as well as poor output power to efficiently and cost-effectively charge storage mediums (forced hot water, pumped water, or batteries of any type) or to send power to the grid. Many New England homes lack the adequate rooftop space (due to multi-faceted sheds and dormers), rooftop design (Southern facing, flat or appropriately angled surface), and hours of insolation throughout the day to efficiently and economically benefit from rooftop PV solar panels.  Wind in the Northeast is stronger, more prevalent nocturnal/diurnal (coastal, mountainous and rural) and yields a higher power density relative to rooftop PV primarily during the fall/winter and encroaching into spring. 

What do you expect are the costs associated with piloting and implementing the solution, and what is your business model?

Pilot costs and five year proformae are outlined below:

Pivotal Aero currently engaged in site selection for uncontrolled testing with a town in Northern Massaschusetts for a pilot field test of 6-12 months.

According to Accenture, only 44% of utility consumers are digitally engaged. The number one reason consumers are not utilizing online data analytics is because they believe digital interaction with their energy providers is a difficult process. Pivotal Aero will look to streamline online data analytics.

Pivotal Aero has completed small wind turbine testing on the M1 and M2 models. Our business strategy is to start small and think big. We began with in-house research and development for CFD analysis and transitioned to light manufacturing on a global supply chain for prototyping. We are now at the stage of establishing pilot projects domestically in the South Shore of Massachusetts in the towns of Quincy and Weymouth and move on to the Berkshires for rural development. To break into the nano-grid markets, Pivotal Aero’s business model is as follows:


1. $0 to low money down installation, based on wind and solar resources at site.

2. Minimum 16 year, multi-payer PPA (Power Purchase Agreement - customers and utility) beginning at .05 to .06 cents per kilowatt hour with escalators throughout the life of the Agreement.

3. Target high yield wind and solar resource sites and prospect property owners for installation.  Introduce battery storage as an upsell to nano-grid clusters.

4. Pivotal Aero is a vertically integrated organization to contain costs. Design is in-house; manufacturing through a global supply chain; in-house assembly and installation on-site.

5. PPA’s represent an asset as a long term contract and are harvestable. Primary buyers are utilities wanting to hedge against volatile pricing and to increase their renewable energy power mix from mandates. Secondary buyers are potentially private investment groups focused on bundling stable fixed income contracts into an investment portfolio.

6. Develop clusters of nano-grids and then scale design to serve large commercial data-centers through battery charging, and then load power, either through direct sales or PPA contracts. 


Currently, the M3 hybrid is in its final stages of development and will be ready to install and test performance at a site in Northern Massachusetts.

Estimated timeline to commercialization is outlined below and may change.

2017-2018. Uncontrolled field test in NoMA. Cleared for testing the following items: Single axis tracking, UAS flights in proximity to the M3 Hybrid. (UAS is used for inspections and pre-maint. activity). Wind power production, solar power production.  Estimated time frame of 6-12mos.

2018-2019: IEC Certification. Engineering testing for IEC/AWEA/MCS/SWCC certification and rating by third party engineering firm. or NREL. Process could take from 12-18 mos.

2019/2020: Commercialization phase begins. 


Related solutions

One of the largest benefits of the M3 Hybrid is the versatility it offers due to its centralized management system; for instance, if a storm arrives, the M3 Hybrid could switch to wind, or during periods of insolation the M3 Hybrid can position the SolarSkin to maximize sunlight exposure. Nano-grid solutions like the M3 Hybrid derive its greatest value in rural areas but also in residential communities. Currently, nano-grid solutions exist in the wind turbine and solar market, and even off-grid, rooftop hybrid wind and solar solutions exist (i.e. SolAir from DyoCore). However, none offer the efficiency and self-automated performance of the M3 Hybrid. Currently, SolAir is experiencing heavy criticism for its misrepresentation of power rating.



1. Assessing the future of Distributed Wind: Oppty's for behind-the-meter projects"., Eric Lantz, Benjamin Sigrin, Michael Gleason, Robert Preus, and Ian Baring-Gould National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

2. Analysis of off-grid electricity system at Isle of Eigg (Scotland): Lessons for developing countriesZbigniew Chmiel , Subhes C. Bhattacharyya, ,


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Solution Summary
Pivotal Aero - a hybrid wind turbine for nano grid settings
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By:  Pivotal Aero
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