Could a bladeless wind turbine answer the issues with clean energy and save a few bird lives in the process? It can if you believe that the same technology we use to get your milkshake to your mouth could also power a community. Vertical designs for wind generators are not popular, but designers continue to come up with new plans for the idea. This vertical straw is one of the latest inventions.
The Vortex wind generator is a completely different type of wind turbine design. It has no spinning blades—or any moving parts to wear out at all—and looks like a ginormous straw that oscillates in the wind. It doesn’t spin the wind, but instead takes advantage of “a phenomenon called vorticity, or the Kármán vortex street, which is a ‘repeating pattern of swirling vortices.'”
The maker of this crazy straw, Vortex Bladeless, says that it can reduce the costs of manufacturing by 53 percent and cut the cost of maintenance by up to 80 percent, all with this tall, skinny design. The design would also represent a 40 percent reduction in both the “carbon footprint and generation costs,” compared to conventional blade wind turbines. The Vortex is quieter too, according to Vortex Bladeless and presents a lower risk to birds and the local environment overall.
The straw-like generator can also, according to the company, be used to generate more power in less space. This happens because the wind wake is narrower than a regular turbine so installing them closer together is possible. “We tested in a wind tunnel to put one Vortex just in front of another and the second one actually benefits from the vortices given off by the first structure,” said David Suriol, co-founder of the Spain-based company.
The Mini is slated to be the first model that Vortex introduces. It’s a 4 kW unit that is 12.5 meters (41 feet) high and it is intended for residential and small scale wind energy usage. The Gran is also in the works which is 1+ MW model that can be used for large-scale power generation. According to an interview in Renewable Energy Magazine, “the company has already raised over 1 million Euros from both private and public funds in Europe, and is expected to roll out its pre-commercial prototype within the year.” At today’s exchange rate, that’s about $1.1 million USD.
A crowdfunding campaign may begin in June according to the company website although no solid plan has yet been stated.
Images via Vortex Bladeless