When driving through rural areas, it is not uncommon to pass clusters of turbines dotted across hillsides, their fans slowly turning in the wind. However, Spanish company “Vortex Bladeless” has developed a new design, doing away with the conventional wind turbine in favour of a new bladeless system. These bladeless turbines shake rather than spin, helping to reduce costs in turn.
How do they work?
Bladeless wind turbines are designed around a similar method architects often use in skyscraper construction. To avoid a building collapsing due to extreme winds, the structure reacts by shaking itself. It is this movement that is central to the vortex bladeless wind turbines, in that the shaking or spinning motion is optimised through a magnetic system to generate an optimal energy conversion rate. The motion these bladeless turbines utilise is known as ´vorticity´, which is used by scientists to describe the energy converted through spinning
Are bladeless systems more efficient?
In fact, Vortex Bladeless´ turbines are approximately 51% cheaper than existing turbines today. This is due to a number of factors including the cost of the fan production. As in current wind turbine designs, the blades used to generate electricity are of a large-scale; hence, they are expensive to produce.
As less parts are required for the bladeless turbines, they are therefore much cheaper to manufacture; in addition, their compact design facilitates a greater number of turbines to be put to use in a particular area.
There is nonetheless a slight downside to bladeless wind turbine technology; they are said to be up to 30% less efficient than existing fan-based systems. On the other hand, while more of them can be placed in a particular area, they also generate far-less wind disturbance, which can disrupt both wildlife habitats and local residents.
Investment and Objectives
Vortex Bladeless aims to launch its new model within a year, with a larger-scale project to be completed by 2018. There has already been demand from both private and governmental sectors, with the Spanish government having already pumped EUR1 million into the project. Vortex Bladeless´ focus is, for the time being, on developing nations, with their next project, a small-scale design, to be brought out by the close of 2015.
Source: Vortex Bladeless