Being able to harvest the power of the elements to produce our own electricity is something we all long for. We are used to see solar panels and giant wind turbines spinning in the breeze as we drive down the highway. But when it comes to wind turbines, the game is about to change. Some guys from Spain have decided to take the lead and make wind harvesting a lot less difficult. They are developing a new generation of wind turbines that we should all keep an eye on it.
Living without electricity can become a nightmare. Having the ways to generate it will make the difference between an easy living and struggling to survive. Many off-gridders are equipping their homes with solar panels and household wind turbines. However, things are about to change and a new power generator will soon hit the market.
A new approach when designing wind power generators
When we think about wind power generators, the first picture that pops in our heads is the one with the spinning massive blades of the classical wind turbines. But it seems that things are about to change and the wind of change comes from Spain. Vortex Bladeless it’s the company that is settled on changing the way we generate wind energy. It wants to do so by leaving the blade turbines behind. They still rely on turning wind into kinetic energy that can be used as electricity, but their design is new and revolutionary.
Instead of capturing energy via the rotational motion of a turbine, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that occurs when wind breaks against a solid structure (Kármán vortex street). The Vortex structure starts to oscillate, and captures the energy that is produced.
And they have designed the vortex wind generator so that it has no parts in contact at all (no gears, linkages, etc). By doing so, the vortex will be cheap and easy to maintain. And when it comes to living off the grid, having no maintenance costs and keeping a steady budget is what we all want.
Related article: Starting your off-grid living with solar power
Another thing that was kept in mind when designing this new wind turbine was to make it as nature friendly as possible. Classical wind turbines are not safe for birds as they often suffer from collision with the blades. Therefore, for their new design, the blades had to go. It is also silent since it oscillates at a frequency that doesn’t produce audible noise (it is below 20Hz), so you could have it installed in your backyard and still enjoy your siesta.
According to the company the manufacturing costs will be reduced, since the Vortex integrates the tower and generator into one structure, requiring less moving parts and less material to produce the same amount of electricity. Manufacturing savings are roughly estimated at around 53 % of the usual wind turbine production cost. The manufacturing, transportation, construction and assembly will be also simplified and are typical for the wind industry.
But it seems not all is peachy. When it comes to efficiency, the Vortex is 30% less in energy conversion compared to classical wind turbines. The solution here would be to put more vortex wind turbines in the same area. Seeing that the turbine require less than 50% foundation compared to classical wind turbines, it might just work.
Regarding the lifetime of these new wind turbines things are looking good. Computational modeling estimates operational lifetime of the installation to be between 32 and 96 years.
Here is a video with the inventor presenting his creation (it’s subtitled in some parts):
This is a product that has already generated a lot of interest. The company already managed to gather more than $1 million from private capital and government funding. They estimate to start commercializing the Vortex Bladeless wind generators in 2017. This is a product that is worth watching because if it delivers what it promises. Many off-gridders will want one for their homes when it becomes available.
You can also check the company’s website if you are looking for more information about this product.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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