The future of wind energy is here — and it’s bladeless! A Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless, has developed a revolutionary way to harness the power of the wind.
The system is called Vortex, and it drastically reduces the amount of inputs required by regular propeller-driven windmills.
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.
Vorticity is a powerful effect which was first observed when it destroyed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.
According to the developers,
Vortex doesn’t just eliminate the blades. We have deliberately designed it to have no parts in contact at all (no gears, linkages, etc). This way we can make Vortex cheap and easy to maintain.
Basically, we reduce the amount of raw materials used for manufacturing, which cuts the production costs and time to produce the equipment. Further, having no moving parts in contact means that there are really very few things that can break, which extends time between maintenance intervals and allows to have less down time. As a result, maintaining costs are low.Finally, Vortex is silent, since it oscillates at a frequency that doesn’t produce audible noise (it is below 20 Hz) . It is also safer for birds that often suffer from collision with blades.
Because of its simple design, the Vortex is far cheaper than conventional windmills. 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.
The company has already raised $1 million from private capital and government funding in Spain, and they have plans to close a round in the United States soon, according to Wired.com.
The company currently has a campaign set up to crowd-source funds for the remainder of their project.
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See other propulsion technologies using vortices.