Vibrating Wind Turbines

May 19, 2015 | 10:19
The Bladeless Turbine
The Bladeless Turbine
Most of the objections raised about conventional wind turbines relate to their turning blades; they generate noise, can be hazardous to wildlife and have an appearance many people find unsightly. A new design of turbine called the Vortex bladeless doesn’t use blades but instead harvests wind energy by vibrating. Compared to a conventional wind turbine the bladeless design is considerably less complex and less expensive with much fewer moving parts to go wrong. A semi-rigid coupling allows the upper section of the turbine to flutter in the wind while a linear alternator housed in the lower section converts the movements into electricity.

The inverted pendulum structure has a natural resonant frequency and vortices created by the passage of air reinforce the vibrations by a process of aeroelastic coupling. The 41 foot prototype design harvests energy most efficiently with wind speeds in the range of 1.5 to 7 metres per second and work is ongoing to increase the useful range from 3 to 15 metres per second with a power output of around 4 kW.

The company claim that the reduced manufacturing and maintenance costs means that harvesting wind energy with this new design costs 40 % less than with a traditional wind turbine. The design is only about 30 % as efficient as a bladed turbine but its smaller footprint allows more turbines to be mounted closer together.
related items