Auburn manufacturer receives Seattle Magazine's Manufacturing Innovator of the Year award

Pete Agtuca and Three Phase Energy Systems, an Auburn-based company at 3205 C St. NE, recently won Seattle Magazine's Manufacturing Innovator of the Year award for small firms.

Agtuca says he began inventing in his Renton garage in 1992. Today he employs 29 workers at his Auburn business, providing parts, components, sub-components and assembly to a global marketplace. His company has nine patents and 12 more pending.

A serial inventor and entrepreneur, Agtuca (Pacific Air Cargo Transfer, Laser Cutting Northwest, 3 Phase Energy Systems) is back with a new innovation, Powersails, a portable low-cost, easily deployable wind-power system. Instead of a rigid material like fiberglass, the Powersails system uses sailcloth and can generate electricity at wind speeds as low as 4 miles per hour.

Powersails can be combined with another innovation, Power on Demand (POD), a container that provides the base for the mast holding the sails as well as the electronics (solar panels can also be attached to provide another source, and small water purification systems can be included). The Powersails and POD don't require a lot of space (about 35 feet from ground to the hub of the wind turbine blades) or much time or labor to assemble. Agtuca sees it as an ideal system for disaster relief, military operations and deployment in remote locales.

"The idea for Powersails came to me after the Haiti Earthquake,"Agtuca said. "I wanted to do something more than just write a check."

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