Bladeless wind generator could be the next big thing for wind energyMay 11, 2015
An innovative company wants to change how energy is generated from wind.
Spanish tech startup Vortex Bladeless is taking a new wind energy generation approach and, instead of using wind turbines with rotating blades, the company has reinvented the standard wind turbine model, creating Vortex, which is essentially a tall mast that looks somewhat like the pole of a standard turbine without the blades. According to the company’s official website, Vortex will be more environmentally friendly, more cost effective, and a more efficient way to produce energy compared to current production methods.
Vortex technology requires no contact between moving parts.
Due to the design and construction of the Vortex’s tube-like structure, no contact exists between moving parts and, therefore, no friction results. More specifically, this power generator is made up of a system of magnetic coupling device. Since this is the case, no gears require lubrication, and the need to replace spare parts is also eliminated, which means the system needs less maintenance.
These power generators use vorticity, which results from the vortex shedding effect, to produce wind energy. Basically, the vortex shedding effect occurs when wind comes in contact with a structure and flows over its surfaces. However, the flow alters and produces a cyclical pattern of vortices at the flows tail end.
To help further explain this complex effect, Vortex Bladeless typically uses the example of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that fell apart in 1940, three months after it opened.
In a YouTube video, the company’s founders explain the effect showing video footage that was taken of the bridge as it rippled, trembled, and eventually fell down due to vortex shedding. After this incident, engineers altered the way they designed and constructed bridges to prevent this from happening again, but the engineers at Vortex Bladeless have done the opposite; embracing this effect and incorporating it into their technology in an effort to generate wind power with greater effectiveness and efficiency.
A greener and cheaper way to generate wind energy.
According to one of the company’s three co-founders, David Suriol Puigvert, a Vortex system costs much less than traditional wind turbine systems. In fact, the company claims that the manufacturing costs of their power generators are 53 percent lower than traditional wind turbines and maintenance costs are 80 percent less. Furthermore, the reduced costs add up to an estimated lower cost per kilowatt.
In addition to lower costs and a reduced carbon footprint, the company also claims that its system is friendlier to the environment because its lack of spinning blades mean no birds will be caught up in blades and killed. No rotating blades also mean the generators will be quieter, which is another plus for the many residents who complain about the noise that traditional wind turbines make.
Vortex Bladeless is currently running field tests with its wind energy generators and due to increased public interest, the company will be launching a crowdfunding campaign, which will begin on June 1, 2015.