A Spanish startup has debuted a new technology which it believes has the potential to disrupt the wind power industry.
Vortex Bladeless has developed a completely new kind of wind power turbine which unlike traditional designs, features no rotor blades.
Instead, the bladeless wind turbines technology makes use of swirling wind currents known as vortices to create oscillation within the tower itself, in order to generate kinetic energy. This kinetic energy is then converted into electric energy through magnetic induction in the base of the tower.
These wind vortices are the primary enemy of architects when designing tall buildings, however in the Vortex Bladeless tower, the structure is actually designed to maximise their intensity. The differences in pressure between these vertices on different sides of the structure cause it to move back and forth, and in doing so generate electricity.
“What happens is that the structure attracts whirlwinds which develop at determined frequencies depending on what speed the wind is travelling,” says David Yanez Co-Founder of Vortex Bladeless. “It’s a great way of transmitting energy from a fluid source to a structure”
As well as being a novel way of generating wind power, Vortex Bladeless also believes its bladeless wind turbines will be significantly cheaper than comparable bladed wind energy towers.
“If you compare our invention to a conventional wind turbine with similar energy generation, ours would cost […] 47 per cent less,” explains Raul Martin, also a Co-Founder of Vortex Bladeless.
This being said, the bladeless wind turbine towers capture around 30% less energy than tradition designs, something which may be offset by the greater density of towers which a bladeless design allows for.
Currently the team is in the process of scaling up their design. A small, 41-foot tall 4kW turbine will become commercially available in 2016, with larger designs in the pipeline for the years to come.
While their design may not completely replace traditional wind generation turbines, the renewable energy industry is booming, and Vortex Bladeless has lots of room to grow.
In 2014 alone the wind power market grew by a massive 44% according to a study conducted by the Global Wind Energy Council.