Vortex Turbines

vortex turbine

These strange looking big things sticking out of the ground are in fact bladeless wind turbines.

Yes, this is for real. Instead of blades that turn in the wind, the Vortex Bladeless turbine is just a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates like a guitar string in the wind.

The result is a turbine that costs around half as much as a bladed one and runs pretty much silently. Despite being 30 per cent less efficient at capturing energy, the new design obviously uses much less space and would allow wind farms to double their number of turbines in a given area, resulting in a net energy gain of 40 per cent. Boom!

Some tech details from Wired:

Instead of capturing energy via the circular motion of a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. Vorticity has long been considered the enemy of architects and engineers, who actively try to design their way around these whirlpools of wind. And for good reason: With enough wind, vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion in structures, which, in some cases, like the … Tacoma Narrows Bridge, can cause their eventual collapse.

At the base of the cone are two rings of repelling magnets, which act as a sort of nonelectrical motor. When the cone oscillates one way, the repelling magnets pull it in the other direction, like a slight nudge to boost the mast’s movement regardless of wind speed. This kinetic energy is then converted into electricity via an alternator that multiplies the frequency of the mast’s oscillation to improve the energy-gathering efficiency.



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