It is a landscape that we are used to. A large area of land in which gigantic shovels spin endlessly like a futuristic windmill. Wind turbines are part of everyday life in many parts of the world, a tool for generate electrical energy by the force of the wind.
In Spain, without going any further, wind energy was the third most important in generating electricity according to data from Red Eléctrica Española for 2019. Up to 20.6% of the total, only surpassed by combined cycle energy (21 ‘ 9%) and nuclear energy (21.2%). Thus, wind energy represents the main source of renewable energy.
However, little has changed in the technology that converts wind into electricity. At least as far as its basic pillars are concerned. And it is increasingly common to hear complaints from conservationists and landscape advocates who consider that wind turbines suppose a problem for birds and also for the human being, since it prevents other economic activities by monopolizing large parcels with wind turbines.
Pleasing all the parties involved is not easy, but the Spanish startup Vortex Bladeless has a possible solution: bladeless wind turbines. His idea was to develop a wind turbine that is respectful of the environment and the fauna that inhabit it. And the main stumbling block in that sense of current wind turbines are the gigantic shovels that go around.
Oscillating wind turbines
The operation of the Vortex Bladeless bladeless turbines can be somewhat comical, especially for those of us who remember toys called snacks or snacks. Instead of seeing the classic blades turn, we see them move in various directions a cylinder fixed to the ground from the bottom.
The system is inspired by the aeroelastic resonance. This new generation of wind turbines has no blades or gears, which simplifies maintenance. The visible part of the wind turbine, or mast, is a rigid cylinder that oscillates in all directions by the force of the wind. The base is anchored in the ground with a rod or core, that oscillation is in charge to generate electrical energy.
In addition to maintenance and being respectful with the environment by lacking mobile elements, the operation of these wind turbines allows place them at a shorter distance than the current ones, so that the wind installations of the future will be able to take up less space and yet generate more electricity.
To this must be added the advantages of current facilities, such as that they are scalable, that is, they can expand later, and can be integrated with other installations, whether or not wind power. What’s more, the idea is that anyone can have their own wind turbine.
Democratizing wind energy
Today it is common to see solar installations on terraces and rooftops of public or private buildings. There are even them in private homes. The evolution of photovoltaic cells and their reduction in price has made it possible for practically anyone to have their own small solar installation.
The project of Vortex Bladeless it would do the same with wind energy. At present, obtaining electricity through wind turbines is something exclusive to almost all electricity companies. But with wind turbines almost three meters high the thing could change.
Precisely, the long-term purpose of its creators is to install wind turbines in urban or rural areas for personal use, connected to the electrical network or independently of it. The main reason is its autonomy and a less wear on the installation. For this, these wind turbines use materials such as carbon fiber, plastics, steel, neodymium and copper.
According to those responsible, Vortex Bladeless technology generates 30% of the energy generated by current wind turbines. Specifically, its estimated power rating is 100 watts in its Vortex Tacoma model. However, it must be taken into account that a current wind turbine has a height of between 25 and 100 meters high versus 3 meters of wind turbines without blades. Yet, in his own words, “a smaller swept area allows them to install more bladesless turbines on the same surface, which largely compensates for this disadvantage ”.
An ever closer future
If you are interested in seeing a Vortex Bladeless wind turbine, you can do it through its prototypes and test models. However, they are not yet on the market. As its official page indicates, “We need a little more time to optimize and certify the wind turbine before it can be sold in each country ”.
The project started in 2010 and it is expected distribute the first 100 units at the beginning of 2012, mainly in Europe and especially in Spain, according to its official blog as of August 2020. Among the first clients are non-profit organizations, universities, natural parks, independent laboratories and associated companies.
In a second phase of testing they expect to manufacture between 1,000 and 10,000 units of the Vortex Nano model to test it in different conditions.
If you want to know the history of the startup Vortex Bladeless you can read his most recent post. And if you are interested in contacting them, their office is at Madrid and his laboratory in Avila. In addition, you can follow them on social networks in their official accounts.
The article Vortex Bladeless bladeless wind turbines want to reinvent wind energy was published in Explica.co.