David Yáñez, a Spanish engineer and co-founder of the venture Vortex Bladeless, has designed a revolutionary oscillating turbine that shakes back and forth instead of spinning.
At first glimpse, it may be difficult to understand how it works. Nothing spins and there are no blades. But that’s exactly the purpose. The thin, rocket-shaped vertical device oscillates back and forth in the breeze, collecting wind kinetic energy and converting it to electricity.
His prototype avoids many of the drawbacks of regular windmills. They are quieter, smaller, and run at around 30% of the cost of bladed wind energy production.
The inventor of bladeless wind turbines hopes the technology could be a game-changer for wind energy pic.twitter.com/wjYMZnhSIW
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 26, 2021
Yáñez tells Reuters that because the bladeless turbines require no maintenance or oil, “the cheap cost might be the components that make this idea a practical instrument for distributing energy, producing energy near to the point of consumption.” This might make them especially useful in distant regions that require electricity but are difficult to reach.
Wildlife might be another game-changer. It is believed that modern wind turbines kill over a million birds each year.
The inspiration for his design came from an unlikely source. Yáñez saw a 1940 footage of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington as an engineering student in 2012. The bridge, dubbed Galloping Gertie, oscillated back and forth in a storm before collapsing.
According to Yáñez, his turbines are constructed to survive “because it does not include elements that may be corroded by humidity or salt.” He believes that with the right investor, the business could get the prototype on the market within 12 to 18 months.
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