Experts Predict Bladeless Wind Turbines In The Future
One of the key reasons why wind energy is dragging behind solar panels in popularity is cost. Despite countless efforts to bring down the expenses, manufacturing turbines continues to be a high-cost activity and extracted energy isn’t guaranteed. According to The Renewable Energy Hub, breaking even with the production cost takes a lengthy amount of time, with the quickest turbine of 2.5W – barely enough to cover one household’s yearly spend – breaking even after 14.5 years.
To solve this problem, a few years ago scientists designed bladeless wind turbines. Instead of having a turbine where out-sticking parts rotated with the wind, the new model envisioned a single pole with no blades whatsoever. This pole then manipulates the wind flow to be whipped around it, causing it to oscillate and produce energy.
Compared to the traditional blade equipped model, this turbine offers many advantages. Whilst it does produce less energy, its compact design allows for multiple units to be installed in the space of one current unit. It costs only half the price to build, and is more wildlife friendly: blades have previously been proven to cause harm to birds by injuring them with their sharp edges. They are also noiseless, which means they could eventually be built in urban areas without disturbing residents.
Unfortunately, the concept has proven slow to develop. A Spanish company called Vortex began the process in 2015, but is yet to publish any results or progress. Currently, their website says two models, 4kW and 100W turbines, are “under development.” It is therefore predicted that much more research and experiments need to be conducted before any large-scale implementation can take place.
Since then, two other companies have joined Vortex in exploring the possibilities of a bladeless wind turbine, although both with their own, slightly different designs. Tunisian Saphon Energy is looking into kinematics through attaching a satellite-like plate to the pole, while Japanese Challenergy believes typhoon turbines are the way to go, with an egg beater-shaped spinner responding to wind.
All of the models provide the same advantages and only differ in shape. However, all of them have one thing in common: there are no blades. With these future-facing start-ups concentrating their efforts onto a new generation of turbines, Dashboard too believes traditional wind turbines will soon be a thing of the past.