Bladeless wind turbines may sound counterintuitive, but a new startup aims to prove that these devices could reinvent the way we harness wind power to generate clean electricity.
Called Vortex Bladeless, the technology is the brainchild of inventor David Yáñez. Together with his six-person team, Yáñez has pioneered a turbine design that can harness energy from winds without the enormous blades so often associated with wind power.
No more than three meters tall, the bladeless turbines take the form of a curve-topped cylinder fixed vertically with an elastic rod. To an observer, the device may appear to waggle back and forth like a car dashboard toy. The turbine is designed to oscillate within the wind range and produce electricity from the vibration.
“Our technology has different characteristics which can help to fill the gaps where traditional wind farms might not be appropriate,” says Yáñez.
Among these gaps are urban and residential areas where developing an actual wind farm would not be feasible. Similar to rooftop solar panels, the Vortex Bladeless could offer homes and businesses a localized solution to generate clean power while saving on their energy bills.
“They complement each other well, because solar panels produce electricity during the day while wind speeds tend to be higher at night,” he says. “But the main benefit of the technology is in reducing its environmental impact, its visual impact, and the cost of operating and maintaining the turbine.”
Also worth noting is that the turbine poses no threat to wildlife or migratory bird patterns. Additionally, people working or living nearby a turbine don’t have to worry about noise pollution because the machine would create a noise that’s inaudible to humans.
“Today, the turbine is small and would generate small amounts of electricity. But we are looking for an industrial partner to scale up our plans to a 140-meter turbine with a power capacity of 1 megawatt,” says Yáñez.