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Prototype Vortex Wind Turbines Don’t Have Any Blades

Question asked by Satya Swaroop Dash in #Coffee Room on May 17, 2015
Satya Swaroop Dash
Satya Swaroop Dash · May 17, 2015
Member of CrazyEngineers
Wind turbines have helped us tap into the infinite renewable energy source for ages. From old time wind mills to the gigantic wind turbines that power entire cities, the structure of a wind turbine has remained the same. Two or more blades capture the breeze and spin and the spin generates kinetic energy that is converted into electrical energy. Well now, if a Spanish energy start-up has it their way, wind turbines as we know them will cease to exist. The company called Vortex Bladeless has developed a prototype wind turbine that does not have any blades. Yes, it’s just a giant rolled up joint made out of fibre glass and carbon fibre that shoots out into the sky. The obvious question now is how does the wind turbine generate electricity? We shall explain it in the following paragraphs.

Vortex Bladeless

Before you know how Vortex Bladeless Wind Turbines work, you have to understand the phenomenon of Vorticity. Vorticity is an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices around building. While architects consider vortices a bane, the Spanish firm considers them a boon. They first built the mast of the Vortex Bladeless using a computational model that makes sure vortices occur synchronously along the mast. At the base of the cone like structure that you see in the above image, the team fitted two rings of repelling magnets to act as a motor. When the wind forces the cone to move the in one way, the magnets repel it in another direction. This movement gets converted into kinetic energy that gets in turn gets converted into converted into electricity via an alternator that multiplies the frequency of the mast’s oscillation to improve the energy-gathering efficiency.

Vortex Bladeless 2

So why did the company set about “changing the wheel” at the first place? They say that since Vortex Bladeless does not have any gears, bolts or mechanical parts they require very less to no maintenance. These wind turbines are of course quieter, cheaper and safer than conventional ones. The team also admits to The Wired about a big pitfall of Vortex Bladeless. These turbines produce 30 percent less power than common wind turbines. You might now asking isn’t that a waste of effort knowing that your innovation is less efficient? The firm argues that considering the shape and inexpensive nature of their turbines you can fit more of them in a single area at the same cost.

So what do you think about these new wind turbines? Post your opinions in the comment section after going through the company website and their video demonstration below.

Posted in: #Coffee Room
Ramu Andy
Ramu Andy · May 18, 2015
Member of CrazyEngineers
Innovative idea, hope it works in real situations, we can generate more energy in less area. 😀
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare · May 18, 2015
Team CrazyEngineers
Fascinating concept! If this is commercialized we are looking at a cheaper, quieter source of energy. Is it practical to put this tech into mainstream use?

Tagging: @Shashank Moghe @A.V.Ramani
Hop · May 19, 2015
Member of CrazyEngineers
In one of the photos they show the vortex columns protruding out of the ocean. Why? Is not water just as satisfactory for the fluid medium as air is?
Ramani Aswath
Ramani Aswath · May 19, 2015
Member of CrazyEngineers
A bladeless silent wind turbine is indeed exciting. My doubt is what is the efficiency that is being talked about. Wind as it blows over a certain area it has a certain amount of energy/square meter of which a particular % is harvested by the particular device. In the case of a vortex turbine this area itself is claimed to be smaller than a windmill of the same height. So the intercepted energy itself is less. On top of this is the lesser efficiency.
The concept is good. The economics may have to be worked out in detail.
Shashank Moghe
Shashank Moghe · May 19, 2015
Member of CrazyEngineers
Vorticity is not an accurately reproducible phenomenon. While it depends on the shape of the turbine, it strongly depends on the nature of the fluid (viscosity, which in turn will depend on humidity), cross currents (since air flow is rarely a unidirectional phenomenon, the cross currents will counter productively act to dissipate the vortices created), speed of the flow (which will determine where downstream the vortices will be of maximum strength, which will determine where the repelling magnets must be placed at the base of the turbine), etc. Also, since the strength of the air flow will determine the strength of the vortices downstream, which in turn will determine the amplitude of the column vibration, the frequency (or strength) of the current produced will vary continuously. A great concept, but much needs to be explained in the way of making a working model. But then what do I know, if an organization has built a model, they must have done their homework.
DavidSuriol · May 19, 2015
Member of CrazyEngineers
Thank you for your messages, ideas and reply. We want to invite you from Vortex Bladeless to visit a couple of posts we published in our Blog that you will find at vortexbladeless.com There are things we can not share yet because is still under patent process, but most of the technical questions are answered there.
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare · May 19, 2015
Team CrazyEngineers
@DavidSuriol Thanks for taking time out to log-in and post a reply.
Here's a link to the Vortex Bladeless blog:
https://www.vortexbladeless.com/blog.php 👍
Ameh Ekwule Douglas
Ameh Ekwule Douglas · May 21, 2015
Member of CrazyEngineers
This is wonderful idea, but i go with Shashank

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