Scientists hope to hugely reduce the cost of wind energy by removing the blades from wind farms, instead taking advantage of a special phenomenon to cause the turbines to violently shake.
Vortex, a startup from Spain, has developed the tall sticks known as Bladeless — white poles jutting out of the ground, that are built so that they can oscillate. They do so as a result of the way that the wind is whipped up around them, using a phenomenon that architects avoid happening to buildings and encouraging it so that the sticks shake.
They do so using vortices, which is where the company gets its name from. The bladeless turbines use special magnets to ensure that the turbines are optimised to shake the most they can, whatever speed the wind is travelling at.
As the sticks vibrate, that movement is converted into electricity by an alternator.
It can do that in a way that makes the electricity they gather about 40 per cent cheaper than the fans with blades that we use today, Vortex claims. The turbines will cost less to make, since the huge blades required are expensive, and upkeep will be cheaper because there are much fewer moving parts.
The company also says that the new design will allow more of them to be put in the same space. They’ll also be much quieter, avoiding the wind disturbance that leads some to object to bladed generators.
Vortex’s fans do generate about 30 per cent less energy than those with blades, the company told Wires.
The company hopes that the 41-foot Mini model will be available next year, and a bigger one will be released in 2018.
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