The number of wind turbines has been declining in the past twenty years, as the population has never been fully convinced of their benefits. Traditional wind turbines with blades use the kinetic energy of the wind to generate electricity. Accused of altering the landscape, causing noise disturbance and endangering wildlife, these turbines are constantly criticized.
Facing these problems, Vortex Bladeless, a Spanish company, has developed a wind turbine without blades. This technology is based on the natural frequency and runs on the aerodynamic effect of whirlwinds. At the base of the mast, two magnetic rings repel, creating an oscillation movement independent from the wind speed. The thin, cone-shaped mast is made of carbon fiber and fiberglass to improve sturdiness and increase vibration.
There are many benefits to this new type of wind turbine. According to Vortex Bladeless, it costs 53% less to manufacture than conventional wind turbines. The maintenance costs are also lower, as there are no moving parts that require periodic lubrication or replacement. This project is also more environmentally friendly: it is completely silent, it brings a 40% carbon foot print reduction, and the risk to wildlife is limited.
However, these turbines are less efficient than traditional turbines. Traditional turbines generate a power of 2 to 3 MW each, whereas the 12.5 meter tall (41 feet) prototypes, tested by Vortex Bladeless have a capacity of only 4 kW.
The project has already raised 1.1 million American dollars in private capital and government funding. Also, the creators launched a crowdfunding campaign last year , but were only able to collect 75,000 American dollars.
As the Vortex solution provides many advantages, could this project become a reliable resource for the future?
The first models will be available in 2016. Time will tell!