A new project currently seeking crowd-funding called Vortex Bladeless is hoping to revamp wind turbine technology by creating a bladeless wind turbine that uses an entirely new concept to harness wind power.
Instead of using a propeller like traditional wind turbines, the Vortex uses an aerodynamic effect called vorticity, which is typically seen as dangerous or troublesome by engineers because it can be difficult to control. However, the Vortex is able to capture these spinning vortexes of wind and turn them into energy safely.
“We said, ‘Why don’t we try to use this energy, not avoid it,’” David Suriol, one of the founders of the Vortex told Wired.
“We can’t say anything bad about conventional wind turbines; they’re great machines. We’re just proposing a new way, a different way,” he added.
The Vortex is shaped like a large cylinder and is filled with magnets that actually help to harness more energy.
In a recent interview with Renewable Energy Magazine, Suriol explained that:
Vortex Bladeless uses a radically new approach to capture wind energy. Our device captures the energy of vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that has plagued structural engineers and architects for ages (vortex shedding effect). As the wind bypasses a fixed structure, its flow changes and generates a cyclical pattern of vortices. Once these forces are strong enough, the fixed structure starts oscillating, may enter into resonance with the lateral forces of the wind, and even collapse.
Instead of avoiding this aerodynamic instability, our technology maximises the resulting oscillation and captures that energy. Naturally, the design of such a device is completely different to a traditional turbine. Instead of the usual tower, nacelle and blades, our device has a fixed mast, a power generator and a hollow, lightweight and semi-rigid fiber glass cylinder on top.
Our wind generator does not have any moving parts in contact, which eliminates the need for lubrication and reduces wear and tear. Also, it’s known that a structure can only have a certain frequency of oscillation, which limits the number of working hours. However, thanks to a self-tuning magnetic coupling system, Vortex can operate in a wider range of wind speeds.
Our technology has two main advantages over the traditional wind turbine: we are cheaper, and more environmentally friendly (noise absence and no oil required for maintenance).
To demonstrate the feasibility of the technology, we have tested dozens of prototypes in wind tunnel, and we are currently doing field tests of complete small-scale equipment.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.