Environment

Vortex bladeless turbines wobble to generate energy

Vortex bladeless turbines wobb...
Groups of Vortex units can be placed close together as the disruption of the wind stream is not as critical to operation as it is for traditional, blade-driven wind turbines
Groups of Vortex units can be placed close together as the disruption of the wind stream is not as critical to operation as it is for traditional, blade-driven wind turbines
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Like a reed swaying in the wind, the new Vortex bladeless wind-driven generator prototype produces electricity with very few moving parts
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Like a reed swaying in the wind, the new Vortex bladeless wind-driven generator prototype produces electricity with very few moving parts
Groups of Vortex units can be placed close together as the disruption of the wind stream is not as critical to operation as it is for traditional, blade-driven wind turbines
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Groups of Vortex units can be placed close together as the disruption of the wind stream is not as critical to operation as it is for traditional, blade-driven wind turbines
The new Vortex bladeless wind-driven generator prototype is claimed to produce electricity with no rotating parts, in a very small space, and with barely a whisper of noise
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The new Vortex bladeless wind-driven generator prototype is claimed to produce electricity with no rotating parts, in a very small space, and with barely a whisper of noise
Designed to reduce the visual and aural impact of traditional spinning-blade turbines, the Vortex takes advantages of the power contained in swirling vortices of air
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Designed to reduce the visual and aural impact of traditional spinning-blade turbines, the Vortex takes advantages of the power contained in swirling vortices of air

Looking somewhat like a giant reed gently swaying in the wind, the new Vortexbladeless wind-driven generator prototype produces electricity with very few moving parts, on avery small footprint, and in almost complete silence. Designed to reduce thevisual and aural impact of traditional spinning-blade turbines, this new devicetakes advantage of the power contained in swirling vortices of air.

Many opponents of spinning wind turbines point to their supposed danger tobirds and other flying animals, as well as their rather noisy operation and –particularly in commercial installations – their enormous size. Though these may well be excuses by those who prefer to stay with olderelectricity generating technologies that they know and trust, standard wind-driventurbines do have these issues and this tends to hold back their universal acceptance anduse.

This is where the creators of the Vortex bladeless believe thattheir device has the advantage. A relatively compact unit, it relies on theoscillation of its reed-like mast in reaction to air vortices to move a series ofmagnets located in the joint near its base to generate electricity.

Though obviously not as efficient as a high-speed, directly wind-driventurbine, this is offset by the fact that the Vortexhas fewer moving parts and is, according to the creators, up to 80 percent more costeffective to maintain. Coupled to the notion that it supposedly has a greaterthan 50 percent manufacturing cost advantage and a 40 percent reductionin its carbon footprint compared to standard wind turbines, the system alsoseems to offer direct economic advantages.

Designed to reduce the visual and aural impact of traditional spinning-blade turbines, the Vortex takes advantages of the power contained in swirling vortices of air
Designed to reduce the visual and aural impact of traditional spinning-blade turbines, the Vortex takes advantages of the power contained in swirling vortices of air

We've explored a number of bladeless wind-turbines before – the Solar Aeroturbine being one (though, by definition, not really bladeless as it merelycovered the spinning blades with a housing) and the Saphonian being another.The latter being more of a true bladeless "turbine," it still required hydraulicactuation of pistons to generate electricity, so its efficiency was probably not all that great (and, to be perfectly frank, it was not strictly a turbine either as it had no spinning parts).

The Vortex, on the other hand, is purported to take advantage of the swirling motion of wind and not direct force like the aforementioned units. This means that it can generate energy from the repeating pattern of vortices (known as the Kármán vortex street), which are generated as the air separates to pass by a blunt body, such as the Vortex structure itself.

This also means that groups of Vortex units can be huddled closer together as the disruption of air movement in the wind stream is nowhere near as critical as it is when positioning standard, blade-driven wind turbines. This will also help ameliorate the inherent efficiencies in each unit as they can be grouped much closer together than their standard turbine counterparts and, therefore, potentially generate more power per square meter.

The first model to be madeavailable commercially will be known as the Mini: a 4 kW, 12.5 meter (41 ft) highunit intended for residential and small-scale commercial application.A larger model, dubbed the Gran, is also being designed and is a unit with agreater than one-megawatt output intended for use in large-scale powergeneration for industry and electricity companies.

To get their creations to production, the team at Vortex will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on June 1, with details to become available via email alerts on the company's website.

The short video below shows a Vortex prototype in action and provides some background information from its creators.

Source: Vortex


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37 comments
Freyr Gunnar
Cute, but economically, how does it compare to a nuclear power plant that runs 24/24 for decades and use very little land?
owlbeyou
This can be significant. It's unobtrusive design makes it an ideal method for producing energy that can supplement solar for private homes as well as large scale applications. Especially since it can be used no matter the time of day or night, as long as there is wind. No dead birds, unsightly vanes, minimal noise, and far less maintenance and installation costs. It also makes it possible to have installations closer to the end-user so that transmission loss is negligible. If Vortex can design a proven reliability, the sky's the limit!
Kong Ben
what concerns me is the oscillation. Even if it has no moving parts , i think it will have more failure rate than a normal wind turbine
myale
Hmm will they not get to a harmonic frequency that will cause them to create a nice note
physics314
The energy contained in moving air is proportional (among other things) to the air mass, which in a wind turbine setting is proportional to the capture cross-section. A small cross section means low power.
pmshah
Though obviously not as efficient as a "HIGH-SPEED", directly wind-driven turbine, There is no such thing. Here I am assuming that you refer to RPM and not the actual speed of the tip of the blades. I would reAlly appreciate seeing some actual figures here. What people should also take a look at is the Pearl River project in China using vertical turbines which are absolutely safe for the birds.
Rot
Agree that the article is a bit short on specifics. And what about metal fatigue if it's flexing. I had to laugh at Freyr's comment, though as I live in Southern CA and we just experienced exactly how reliable those nuclear plants are with the fail of San Onofre power plant. Nuclear fans never seem to include cleanup costs in their calculations. Although, even if they did, they might be better than coal.
jeronimo
4kW from a 41' tall pole ... you gotta be pulling my leg. Show us the test data !!!! And what happens in a storm ?
JoejustJoe
To Freyr Gunnar well when you consider the clean up and storage cost for your traditional nuke plant this is a good option now if you used a Thorium reactor wind and solar combined don't hold a candle to it.
windykites
It looks to me to be a very feeble device, and seems hardly capable of giving out much electricity. No performance figures seem to be available. By the way, what a lovely photograph of Chem-trails. Don't know what they are? Check it out.