As of the end of the Forties, Lucien Romani approached the Institut Aerotechnique (IAT) at Saint-Cyr l'Ecole (Yvelines)
where my father worked (aerial view of the site now).
General view of the Institut AéroTechnique at Saint-Cyr l'Ecole circa 1910.
Aerial view of the IAT between the two world wars.
This small research station on wind energy had two objects:
- Testing wind turbines.
- To develop ways to measure the performance of the future wind turbine Nogent-le-Roi which involved research on the structure of the moving air.
of small wind turbines were tested there on metal pylons. The
last sample was the BEST-Romani 10 KVA aerogenerator.
turbine were tested there :
- The CDC - Ailleret
on the top highest of the three pylons attesting the interest
that the Polytechnician Pierre Ailleret had to the study of the
power a long time before being the Manager
of the Direction des Etudes et Recherches of Electricité de France (there is
a room Pierre Ailleret at EDF
R&D in Clamart).
- The Romani anemometer whose sensor was a striated vertival cylinder mechanically linked to a scale equipped with strain gauges inserted in an electrical circuit of the "Wheatstone bridge" type.
- Cheap cups anemometers to count the number of revolutions of the butterfly system. These anemometers were distributed to volunteers complacent: teachers, town clerks, etc ... who agreed to devote part of their time to conduct the surveys (most were already equipped with mini-weather stations and tranmettaient their measures to the National Meteorological Office at Trappes).
The research station was also used in the development of gauges coupled with recorders using the Poggendorff method (mesurement by opposition).
These devices required controls, developements or calibration within the precincts of the research station itself or in the wind tunnel of the close Institut Aerotechnique.
On January first, 1955 my father was recruited by the BEST and his first missions were to monitor this aerogenerator and the measuring instruments the activity of which he had to record daily.
Models derived from the experimental aerogenerator BEST-Romani
(10 KVA) were produced by the Aerowatt company and equipped
des Phares et Balises as well as the weather stations
of Paul-Emile Victor in Terre-Adélie.
There is a doubt about the links between the BEST and Aerowatt.
According to Andre Argan, Head of the Division Energie du Vent
at the Direction des Etudes et Recherches of EDF, Aerowatt
would have been a subsidiary company of the Commissariat à l'Energie
Atomique and the BEST would have had a participation there.
This assertion however could not be crosschecked. The facts are
that, when a wind turbine from Aerowatt had technical
problems, that was often
the engineers and technicians of the BEST which intervened
(lighthouse of Sept Iles off
Ploumanac' h, in particular).
The Aerowatt company was purchased by the Société Vergnet
SA from Marc Vergnet who still manufactures and markets
wind turbines under this trade-mark.