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Wind farms may get a fresh new look

vortex windfarm concept

 

A Spanish company may have come up with an alternative to traditional wind farms that will please bird lovers around the world. Vortex Bladeless have taken the concept of wind farms to a new level by creating a completely bladeless wind capturing design. Traditional wind turbines have blades that can spin up to 320km/h which can be damaging to local bird populations. Wind turbine syndrome has also long been a criticism of traditional wind farms with local residents’ blaming the sub-sonic noise produced by the turning blades on headaches, sleeplessness and even depression. However with no blades, there is no noise.

In addition to being silent and safer for local wildlife, the bladeless design may be more efficient. According to Vortex Bladeless, having no blades will save around 40% in energy costs, due in large part to cutting down maintenance costs. No blades means there are no moving parts or gears which should equate to a longer lifespan for the bladeless design. Simplicity in design will also reduce manufacturing costs with Vortex Bladeless estimating that the cost to produce the bladeless design will be around half of that of a traditional wind turbine. Although the bladeless design is estimated to harvest around 30% less energy than traditional wind turbines, their slim design allows for more units to be placed in one area.

The bladeless wind turbines draw their power from phenomenon known as vorticity. Normally architects try their hardest to avoid vorticity, which can be described as whirlpools of wind, due to the fact enough wind can lead to oscillating motion in structures. At Vortex Bladeless they have harnessed this energy with a cone shaped design made from fiberglass and carbon fibre to allow for maximum vibration. Two repelling magnet rings sit at the base of the cone, pulling the cone in the opposite direction to which it is oscillating. This adds to the movement of the mast regardless of the speed of the wind. The kinetic energy is then converted to electricity via an alternator.

Vortex Bladeless have raised over $1 million in funds and are seeking more from US investors. They plan on installing their first prototype by the end of the year.

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 11:21

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