Thursday, February 13, 2014

The future of wind turbines? Bizarre-looking funnel produces SIX times more energy than traditional designs

wind turbines
Wind turbines may be considered an eco-friendly way to generate electricity, but they're heavily criticised for blotting the landscape and killing hundreds of birds.

Minnesota-based Sheerwind has designed a bizarre-looking alternative to these bladed systems that uses a series of funnels and tubes.

In its Invelox turbine, winds as low as 2mph are directed into a funnel and through a tube to the turbine’s generator on the ground.

By channelling this wind through a passage that narrows at the end it creates a ‘jet effect’, which increases the wind’s velocity, but lowers the pressure.

This technique creates kinetic energy and is called the Venturi Effect. This kinetic energy turns the generator.

Sheerwind claims that due to this unique Venturi-based system, the turbine works with wind speeds as low as 2mph.

It can also produce 600 per cent more electrical energy (kWh) than blade systems by expanding the range of speeds at which it can operate.

Water-based systems already use the Venturi Effect, yet this is the first commercial use of it for converting wind energy.

Sheerwind also states its funnel system is scalable, meaning smaller versions could be placed on both agricultural and hobby farms, industrial estates and even in back gardens.

It could also reduce the threat blade systems have on birds and bats.

Customers can request more details and fill in a form, specifying what kind of wind tower they want, at Sheerwind's website.

'Conventional wind turbines use massive turbine generator systems mounted on top of a tower. Invelox, by contrast, funnels wind energy to ground-based generators,' said Sheerwind.

'Instead of snatching bits of energy from the wind as it passes through the blades of a rotor, wind is captured with a funnel and directed through a tapering passageway that naturally accelerates its flow.
'This stream of kinetic energy then drives a generator that is installed safely and economically at ground level.’

Sheerwind continued that the unit is 50 per cent shorter than traditional wind towers and uses a ground-based turbine with blades that are 84 per cent smaller.

Fewer generators are needed to generate equivalent energy, so equipment and maintenance costs are lower, too.

Sheerwind even claims Invelox is ‘competitive with natural gas and hydroelectric generation’ because it costs less than a penny per KwH.


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