What was once a niche developing part of the energy industry has evolved into an important power source for many regions and companies across the world. As organisations phase out fossil fuel power in an effort to meet The Paris Agreement, renewable energy technology is in demand. Innovative offerings are becoming more widely available, and a broad range of options on offer to bolster the global capacity for renewable energy.
Wind turbines — with no blades
Spanish energy company Vortex Bladeless is developing a new wind power generating technology without blades, gears or shafts, encouraging a new urban opportunity for wind power.
Instead, the light cylindrical machines oscillate perpendicular to the wind stream, creating an aeroelastic resonance in which energy can be harnessed from the wind.
New technology compared with traditional wind generation
Rather than aiming to replace wind turbines, Vortex proposes an alternative with radically different characteristics that may open new horizons to wind energy in all scales, from micro-wind to large-scale generation.
“Our technology has different characteristics which can help to fill the gaps where traditional wind farms might not be appropriate,” says David Yáñez, the Inventor, Founder and Co-CEO of Vortex Bladeless.
“This could be wind power’s answer to the home solar panel — they complement each other well, because solar panels produce electricity during the day while wind speeds tend to be higher at night.”
When compared to a traditional wind turbine, the new technology has a range of similarities and differences:
- Same building materials
- Similar operating conditions
- Same grid compatibility
- Similar energy conversion method
- Less maintenance
- Silent operation
- Bird friendly
- Safer and easier
The innovative design is quite simple in concept, allowing for easy manufacturing, installation and operation. The fixed base and cylindrical mast are joined by a carbon rod and oscillate freely, perpendicular to the wind direction, with inner parts that never collide with each other, but interact to generate electricity.
Vortex was founded in 2013 and is developing the technology with the support of companies including Airgrup, Altair, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, SEO Birdlife, European Investment Bank, Techstars, Yonex and Nagami.
“The main benefit of the technology is in reducing its environmental impact, its visual impact, and the cost of operating and maintaining the turbine,” Yáñez says.
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