The giant wind farms that line hills and coastlines aren’t the sole thanks to harnessing the facility of the wind, say green energy pioneers who decide to reinvent wind generation by forgoing the necessity for turbine towers, blades – and even wind.
“We aren’t against traditional wind farms,” says David Yáñez, the inventor of Vortex Bladeless wind turbine. His six-person startup, based just outside Madrid, has pioneered a turbine design that will harness energy from winds without the sweeping white blades considered synonymous with wind generation.
The design recently won the approval of Norway’s state energy company, Equinor, which named Vortex on an inventory of the ten most enjoyable startups within the energy sector. Equinor also will offer startup development support through its tech accelerator program.
How long is this machine?
The bladeless wind turbine stands at 3 meters high, a curve-topped cylinder fixed vertically with an elastic rod. To the untrained eye, it appears to waggle back and forth, not unlike a car dashboard toy. actually, it’s designed to oscillate within the wind range and generate electricity from the vibration.
It has already raised eyebrows on the forum site Reddit, where the turbine was likened to an enormous vibrating sex toy, or “skybrator”. The unmistakably phallic design attracted quite 94,000 ratings and three,500 comments on the location. the highest rated comment suggested an identical device could be found in your mother’s dresser drawer. It received 20,000 positive ratings from Reddit users.
“Our technology has different characteristics which may help to fill the gaps where traditional wind farms won’t be appropriate,” says Yáñez.
These gaps could include urban and residential areas where the impact of a windfarm would be too great, and therefore the space to create one would be too small. It plugs into an equivalent trend for installing small-scale, on-site energy generation, which has helped homes and corporations across the country save on their energy bills.
This could be wind power’s answer to the house solar panels, says Yáñez.
“They complement one another well, because solar panels produce electricity during the day while wind speeds tend to be higher in the dark ,” he says. “But the most advantage of the technology is in reducing its environmental impact, its visual impact, and therefore the cost of operating and maintaining the turbine.”
The turbine is not any danger to bird migration patterns, or wildlife, particularly if utilized in urban settings. For the people living or working nearby, the turbine would create noise at a frequency virtually undetectable to humans.
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How much energy does a bladeless wind turbine produce?
“Today, the turbine is little and would generate small amounts of electricity. But we are trying to find an industrial partner to proportion our plans to a 140-meter turbine with an influence capacity of 1 megawatt,” says Yáñez.
Vortex isn’t the sole startup hoping to reinvent wind generation. Alpha 311, which began during a garden shed in Whitstable, Kent, has begun manufacturing a little vertical turbine that it claims can generate electricity without wind.
The 2-meter turbine, made up of recycled plastic, is meant to suit existing streetlights and generate electricity as passing cars displace the air. Independent research commissioned by the corporate has found that every turbine installed along a motorway could generate the maximum amount of electricity as 20 sq meters of solar panels, quite enough electricity to stay the streetlight on and help power the local energy grid, too.
A scaled down version of the turbine, standing at but 1 metre, are going to be installed at the O2 Arena in London where it’ll help to get clean electricity for the 9 million people that visit the entertainment venue during a usual year.
“While our turbines are often placed anywhere, the optimal location is next to a highway, where they will be fitted on to existing infrastructure. There’s no got to dig anything up, as they will attach to the lighting columns that are already there and use the prevailing cabling to feed directly into the grid,” says Mike Shaw, a spokesperson for the corporate . “The footprint is little , and motorways aren’t exactly beauty spots.”
Perhaps the foremost ambitious divergence from the quality turbine has emerged from the German startup SkySails, which hopes to use an airborne design to harness wind generation directly from the sky.
SkySails makes large fully automated kites designed to fly at altitudes of 400 meters to capture the facility of high-altitude winds. During its ascent, the kite pulls a rope tethered to a winch and a generator on the bottom . The kite generates electricity because it rises into the sky and, once completely unspooled, uses only a fraction of the electricity generated to winch back towards the bottom .
Stephan Wrage, the chief executive of SkySails, says the airborne wind energy systems mean “the impact on people and therefore the environment is minimal …The systems work very quietly, practically haven’t any visible effect on the landscape and barely cast a shadow,” he adds.
Today, the planning can generate a maximum capacity of 100 to 200 kilowatts, but a replacement partnership with the German energy firm RWE could increase the potential output from kilowatts to megawatts. A spokesperson for RWE said the pair are currently trying to find the perfect kite-flying site within the German countryside.