Environment

Saphonian bladeless turbine boasts impressive efficiency, low cost

Saphonian bladeless turbine bo...
The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine draws inspiration from the design of a ship's sails
The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine draws inspiration from the design of a ship's sails
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The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order to harness the wind’s energy
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The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order to harness the wind’s energy
The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine draws inspiration from the design of a ship's sails
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The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine draws inspiration from the design of a ship's sails

Tunisian green energy startup Saphon Energy has created a new bladeless wind turbine which draws inspiration from the design of a ship’s sails, and promises to convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity at up to double the efficiency – and half the cost – of a typical wind turbine.

Dubbed the “Saphonian,” in honor of an ancient wind divinity worshiped by the Carthaginian Mediterranean culture which predated modern Tunisia, the current iteration of bladeless wind turbine is the second prototype developed by the company thus far.

The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order to harness the wind’s energy
The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order to harness the wind’s energy

As illustrated by the development of the Solar Aero and Catching Wind Power bladeless turbines, there is a perceived need for wind turbines which can offer renewable energy while also avoiding the use of rotating blades, which can cause noise pollution and be harmful to birds.

The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order to harness the wind’s energy. This is said to involve channeling the wind in a back and forth motion, until it is converted into mechanical energy using pistons. The pistons then produce hydraulic pressure, which can be instantly converted to electricity via a hydraulic motor and a generator, or stored in a hydraulic accumulator.

The savings in manufacturing result from being able to discard the blades, hub and gearbox needed in a traditional wind turbine, according to Saphon Energy. In addition, though we've been given no hard figures, the company claims that the Saphonian works to a level of efficiency which exceeds the Betz limit – a proposition which leaves us feeling skeptical, though admittedly intrigued.

The Saphonian bladeless turbine received an international patent this March, and Saphon Energy is currently seeking collaboration with a manufacturer in order to bring the technology to market, a process which the company estimates could take up to two years.

The promo video below features a little more information on the project.

Source: Saphon Energy via Environmental News Network

Saphon Energy Story

63 comments
yrag
Well it all seems to be to good to be true‚ but I hope it's proven to be true!
zevulon
one of the characteristics of light fraud is that it claims extraordinary superiority, uses expensive show and tell video's and promotions, and doesn't even bother to first explain the precise and simple source of the difference in performance. this video above is classic. i've seen it so many times. i'm 95% sure that when you go to their website to investigate their contraption, you will either see no explanation or you will see an explanation that is either highly confusing to make you think you don't understand something about why its' different. most of the time, complexity or sheer absence of explanation belies fraud. 99% of the time, the basic source of a legitimate performance difference can be explained in a relatively simple fashion and therefor WILL be. when something works , it usually does so for simple reasons, and because this is the case, the simple explanation will be forthcoming. lack of a simple forthcoming explanation is invariably 95% of the time evidence of something either being fraudulent or simply wrong. You don't even have to waste your time on investigating. 20 to 1 odds you are wasting your time by investigating but you should have known something like this is a fraud in it claims.
DemonDuck
One picture is worth a thousand words. Especially words that say nothing. I will believe it when I see it.
Scion
I'm totally agreeing with Zevulon. I've read many claims to superiority for one product or another and without fail the products that can't simply explain where their superiority comes from turn out to be duds. Either actual fraud, wishful thinking or simply don't scale up from lab tests. It wouldn't take much to briefly outline the mechanism that allows for the Betz law to be defeated. I suspect it won't work at utility power levels or even useful levels for residential use. But it would be nice if it did.
christopher
Sounds 100% snake-oil to me. Here's the patent: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/WO2012039688.pdf and yes, it does contain blades, and it does rotate as well: " The system (SCEE) has a wheel (F) equipped with a series of blades arranged all around it. The wheel (F) turns in a pivoting connection about a fixed axle (L)..." Aside from that, the wording and diagrams are all gibberish to me. Looks like an elaborate hoax, and the utterly irrelevant "Betz limit" mention in the second sentence pretty much confirms it in my mind.
christopher
LOL - here's how much they believe in their own words (from their web site): "Saphon Energy does not guarantee, nor shall be held liable, under any circumstances, for the suitability, fitness for any particular purpose, sequence, accuracy, absence of errors, veracity, topicality, loyal and commercial nature, quality, soundness, non-infringement or availability of the information contained on this website." As for their hydraulic storage of energy claims, any mechanical device can do that (not just theirs), and since none ever do, there's clearly some good reason for that (insufficient energy density and extreme danger are two that come to mind). If I had to guess at their "betz limit" claim: since they've got a stack of tiny blades outside their deflector, my guess is that they're deliberately ignoring the surface area of the deflector when calculating energy output (if they even built one of these things at all, which itself seems dubious - their promo "pictures" are missing the rotating blades, and so don't match their patent diagrams...)
Dany Ehrenbrink
http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2012039688&recNum=1&tab=PCTDocuments&maxRec=1&office=&prevFilter=&sortOption=&queryString=WO%2F2012%2F039688 This is the full patent filed with all documentation. It is clear that the system is simple, a weighted round sail-like body rotates around an axle and as it is connected with the axle using hydraulic pistons these are pushed and pulled converting the wind energy into mechanical ( hydraulic pressure) energy. This is then used to power a hydraulic motor which is used to power a generator to generate electricity. As the main part of energy conversion for wind is the area exposed compared to the energy output is what makes the system either more or less efficient in converting the energy, I have my doubts as to how efficient it really is. The reason being that they claim with a area of 1.2m2 they have an output of 300-500W. This is within the output a regular wind turbine would have, rated at 350-400W. It is an interesting system none the less and I would love to see the output of a regular 5 to 6 m body system and then compare that with the 5-7.5kW small scale systems for houses and farms. If they can show that it better in converting the energy, I will certainly give it a go.
Edgar Castelo
Solyndra vapourware.
nutcase
Yes looks to me like another load of hot air. Their website reminds me of a LFTR website ie big talk, no action.
Emdenfahrer
It does look like Vapourware for lobby reasons, e.g. carrying the old falsified myth that wind generators endanger birds. There is absolutely no evidence for that.