Can you imagine blade turbines without blades? Skybrators can produce clean energy without any impact on the environment. Many people think that wind energy can only be used with the help of large wind turbines, which have huge towers and blades. Several startups were created, which created wind turbines without blades. This technology can be used in many places where conventional wind turbines would not fit.
“We are not against traditional windfarms,” says David Yáñez, the inventor of Vortex Bladeless. His six-person startup, based just outside Madrid, has pioneered a turbine design that can harness energy from winds without the sweeping white blades considered synonymous with wind power.
The design recently won the approval of Norway’s state energy company, Equinor. What do these turbines look like? The bladeless turbines stand at 3 meters high, a curve-topped cylinder fixed vertically with an elastic rod. It is designed to oscillate within the wind range and generate electricity from the vibration.
“Our technology has different characteristics which can help to fill the gaps where traditional windfarms might not be appropriate,” says Yáñez. However, bladeless turbines are great in cities because they take up almost no space. They can help many households and businesses reduce energy bills.
Bladeless turbines do not endanger animals
This could be wind power’s answer to the home solar panel, says Yáñez. “They complement each other well, because solar panels produce electricity during the day while wind speeds tend to be higher at night,” he says. “But the main benefit of the technology is in reducing its environmental impact, its visual impact, and the cost of operating and maintaining the turbine.”
These turbines do not endanger birds or other wildlife. “Today, the turbine is small and would generate small amounts of electricity. But we are looking for an industrial partner to scale up our plans to a 140 meter turbine with a power capacity of 1 megawatt, ”says Yáñez.
Startup Alpha 311
Vortex is not the only startup hoping to reinvent wind power. Other startups with vertical turbines include Alpha 311. The startup created a small wind turbine that can reportedly generate energy even without wind. It is a two-meter turbine, which is made of recycled plastic and can also be placed on street lighting. Electricity will be generated by pushing passing cars, which will set the turbine in motion. Each turbine installed along a motorway could generate as much electricity as 20 sq meters of solar panels. Such turbines could not only provide energy for public lighting, but could also power the local power grid.
“While our turbines can be placed anywhere, the optimal location is next to a highway, where they can be fitted on to existing infrastructure. There’s no need to dig anything up, as they can attach to the lighting columns that are already there and use the existing cabling to feed directly into the grid,” says Mike Shaw, a spokesperson for the company. “The footprint is small, and motorways aren’t exactly beauty spots.”
Image credit: Vortex Bladeless