I hate wind turbines.
Not because they are ugly super sized fans but rather due to the fact that they kill so many birds in the name of “environmentally friendly technology.”
Fortunately a company called Vortex Bladeless is creating a smarter way to collect wind power without sacrificing our feathered friends.
The Vortex’s shape was developed computationally to ensure the spinning wind (vortices) occurs synchronously along the entirety of the mast. “The swirls have to work together to achieve good performance,” Villarreal explains. In its current prototype, the elongated cone is made from a composite of fiberglass and carbon fiber, which allows the mast to vibrate as much as possible (an increase in mass reduces natural frequency). At the base of the cone are two rings of repelling magnets, which act as a sort of nonelectrical motor. When the cone oscillates one way, the repelling magnets pull it in the other direction, like a slight nudge to boost the mast’s movement regardless of wind speed. This kinetic energy is then converted into electricity via an alternator that multiplies the frequency of the mast’s oscillation to improve the energy-gathering efficiency.
Its makers boast the fact that there are no gears, bolts, or mechanically moving parts, which they say makes the Vortex cheaper to manufacture and maintain. The founders claim their Vortex Mini, which stands at around 41 feet tall, can capture up to 40 percent of the wind’s power during ideal conditions (this is when the wind is blowing at around 26 miles per hour). Based on field testing, the Mini ultimately captures 30 percent less than conventional wind turbines, but that shortcoming is compensated by the fact that you can put double the Vortex turbines into the same space as a propeller turbine. (via Wired)
Vortex Bladess also mentioned to Wired that the lack of blades makes their wind technology safer for birds (although they might want to also add bats to the list).
Hopefully Vortex’s wind tech could be used around windy beaches & oceans as they would not mar the horizon (a legitimate concern within the tourism industry).
Image Credit: Vortex Bladeless
Note: If Vortex Bladeless does decide to gather energy upon windy oceanic outposts, I would highly recommend the tiny island nation of Nauru who may have plenty of wind to spare (as they have the fortune of being near typhoons without being hit by them—mostly).
Hat tip: The Verge