Environment

Versatile Wind Harvester breaks from traditional turbine design

Versatile Wind Harvester break...
Heath Evdemon has designed a new kind of wind turbine based on reciprocating motion that's currently being scaled up into a full-size prototype with the help of the Future Factory project
Heath Evdemon has designed a new kind of wind turbine based on reciprocating motion that's currently being scaled up into a full-size prototype with the help of the Future Factory project
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Heath Evdemon and the Future Factory team with one of the full-size airfoils from the new Wind Harvester system
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Heath Evdemon and the Future Factory team with one of the full-size airfoils from the new Wind Harvester system
Heath Evdemon demonstrates the reciprocating motion of the new Wind Harvester
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Heath Evdemon demonstrates the reciprocating motion of the new Wind Harvester
A scale model of the Wind Harvester - as the wind catches a horizontal airfoil, it's raised until it reaches a certain point, then the angle of the blade alters and it's forced downward, and the process repeats
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A scale model of the Wind Harvester - as the wind catches a horizontal airfoil, it's raised until it reaches a certain point, then the angle of the blade alters and it's forced downward, and the process repeats
Heath Evdemon has designed a new kind of wind turbine based on reciprocating motion that's currently being scaled up into a full-size prototype with the help of the Future Factory project
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Heath Evdemon has designed a new kind of wind turbine based on reciprocating motion that's currently being scaled up into a full-size prototype with the help of the Future Factory project
View gallery - 4 images

From huge kites to sea-bound flywheels and roof-top installations to tree-like art creations, we've seen many different approaches to capturing energy from the wind. One design, though, reigns supreme - the tri-blade turbine tower. It's not exactly a trouble-free life at the top and there are those who do not look upon these monsters favorably, most often complaining about the noise and the not so picturesque view. With support from Nottingham Trent University's Future Factory project, Heath Evdemon is currently building a new type of wind turbine called the Wind Harvester that's claimed to be virtually silent, doesn't need to loom high over the landscape and can operate in a variety of wind conditions.

Evdemon first came up with the idea for the Wind Harvester over six years ago but has only recently developed the idea further. The Wind Harvester has horizontal airfoil blades that need only measure one meter (3.28 feet) across and can operate at half a meter (1.64 feet) off the ground on hillsides or outcrops, or can be placed atop domestic, commercial and agricultural buildings.

"The Wind Harvester can be used in locations where it is difficult to install current wind turbine farms," said project supporter Dr Amin Al-Habaibeh from Nottingham Trent University's School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment.

Heath Evdemon demonstrates the reciprocating motion of the new Wind Harvester
Heath Evdemon demonstrates the reciprocating motion of the new Wind Harvester

The system is based on reciprocating motion - as the wind catches a horizontal airfoil (like the ones you might find on aircraft), it's raised until it reaches a certain point, then the angle of the blade alters and it's forced downward, and the process repeats. Unlike the more familiar wind turbine designs where the tip of the blade moves at a different speed to a more central point, all the points on the airfoils of the Wind Harvester would move at the same velocity. This is said to make the unit capable of generating power at low wind speed, as well as continuing through to the kind of higher wind speeds that may result in other systems ceasing operation to prevent damage.

The system is scalable up to blades of about 15 meters (49 feet), and its components can be broken down into bite-sized pieces for ease of installation without the need for heavy machinery.

The frame, rotating base, swinging arms, airfoils, generator and the outer housing of the system are currently being upscaled into a fully working prototype model thanks to funding from Future Factory, the Peak District National Park's Sustainable Development Fund and the Live & Work Rural program.

"We're looking for potential sites within the Peak District National Park at the moment and then we'll turn our attention to industry, but it's a product which could one day be rolled out to farms working towards becoming carbon neutral and homeowners looking for a cheap and sustainable source of power," says Evdemon.

At the time of writing, there's no word on exactly how efficient this new device is expected to be, we'll doubtless have to wait for real world data to be collected at the full-size prototyping stage.

Sources: Nottingham Trent University and Wind Power Innovations

View gallery - 4 images
26 comments
Slowburn
It\'s a mechanical nightmare that will break down constantly.
Jim Parker
Like a stalling canard?
Todd Dunning
Why is it so trendy and cool to come up with laughably bad alternative power? Does it get chicks?
Pat O'Leary
I suspect it was originally to be an Art \"Installation\" but he found there was some unused grant funding in the Alternative Energy kitty. Who knows? Maybe the walkers in the Peak District will need their iPhones recharged - this should do it.
jeremy.davies
Fine in principle, but as Slowburn says, it will be a a clattering, squeaking with a completely uneccesary amount of components = durability and performance nightmare = not ever going to be cost effective. I am also keen to understand where this can be installed that would be \'difficult\' for conventional three bladers. I heard of a VAWT version of this that failed miserably at the recent PowerFOB MOD trials... Folly I am afraid..... who\'s money is funding the Future Fund? - hopefully not mine as a tax payer?
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Looks like a clumsy reverse-cyclocopter concept. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclogyro) I agree with what\'s been said: the more moving parts, the more expensive to fabricate and maintain it\'ll be. Additionally, this appears to be uni-directional. How does it turn to face the wind when direction changes? IMO, the helical vertical-axis eggbeater types are the most appealing for home-owner level implementation.
Mel Tisdale
Looks more like Heath Robinson than Heath Evdemon. I bet you could put a savonius rotor in the same volume of space this contraption takes up and get more out of it. Also, not only would it be quieter, I suspect, it would be just as safe in a high wind if designed properly.
Avril Stalker
Can\'t sing? Can\'t Act? Can dance a little? You guys crack me up.
Island Architect
No single element in in the engineering world has drawn so many absurd concepts. I wonder if we can sell that to Sam Williams for his advanced cruise missile engines. The fact remains that all the goofballs have been following the 1946 NASA design with airfoils when airfoils are used for entirely different purposes. Even the Old Dutch and Aermotor inventors new better. And the passel of absurd designers have all abandoned any concern for efficiency whatsoever as if engineering princples are frivolous. Never do they test and publish efficiencies. Certifications for nothing mean nothing. The world needs a test and development centrer where a proper engineering approach to development can be taken. Politicians promoting and promulgating the 20% efficiency designs are whacked. In Canada their throats were slit. Bill Allison achieved the Betz limit of 59% efficiency. Why doesn\'t someone try and prove him wrong? Dead flat blades, highly polished SS construction and gaps to eliminate the cone of resistance are necessary. This is chitty chitty bang bang stuff. Bill Dickens
Dawar Saify
Hey, why is everyone attacking a good thing, stop it, Atleast for any good effort or you guys try making it. I once made a similar project. The problems I faced: 1. All parts have to be precise and balanced, otherwise it simply doesn\'t move or moves irratically or inefficiently. 2. Even a small amount of dust or dirt more on one side disbalances it. 3. Birds too sit on it and their dirt also disbalances it. But a larger project can benefit from Wind different between upper and lower levels.