Alternative Wind Turbine Designs Available in 2020
Ram Tumuluri – “Wind power is one of the most efficient, clean, and resourceful renewable energies currently utilised by modern society.
Since it is in-exhaustive and highly sustainable, wind turbines are becoming one of the most popular native energy sources across the globe.
But, with increasing demands for energy as a result of population growth and changes in socioeconomic trends, the design of the turbines which harness wind power are required to be ever more innovative – and above all, practical and cost-effective.
With this in mind, we’re exploring some of the most ingenious wind turbine designs below.”
Different Types of Wind Turbines – Renewable Energy in 2020
The Typhoon Turbine, Atsushi Shimizu
For the first time in centuries, typhoons can be considered as a positive force of mother nature, rathe than just a destructive one.
Designed by Japanese engineer Atsushi Shimizu, the typhoon turbine looks like an electric egg whisk, containing three cylinders sturdy enough to both withstand and harness typhoon energy.
Due to its effective shape, this turbine monopolises the Magnus effect, whereby each cylinder holds one blade and directs air faster on one side than the other. The cylinders are controlled by a central rod, which can adjust the speed of the blades according to predicted weather patterns.
This technique means that the turbines can generate energy efficiently at high capacity, no matter how strong or unpredictable the winds are.
What’s more, according to Shimizu, just one typhoon could have the capacity to generate electricity for the whole of Japan for 50 years!
Bird-friendly Wind Turbines
Environmentally friendly approaches to sustainable energy are not always particularly eco-friendly, with classic turbines presenting many problems for species such as birds.
The below turbine designs each present exciting potential for new wind turbine design which has a lesser impact on surrounding ecological environ.
The Catching Wind Power turbine
Created by WWII veteran Raymond Green, the Catching Wind Power prototype is not only bird- AND bat-friendly: this unit runs quietly, significantly reducing the noise pollution often associated with traditional wind turbines.
Consisting of a megaphone-style structure and internally housed blades, this product has been designed to be scalable, meaning it would be suited to both residential and industrial locations.
The Vortex Bladeless Generator
Due for release in 2020, the Vortex Bladeless Aerogenerator is reinventing wind energy.
Not technically a turbine, this generator harnesses a technique called Vortex Shedding, in which a cylinder oscillates to produce electricity via an alternator system.
Holding no blades, and being particularly slender in design, this invention is not only bird-friendly, but is extremely economical in terms of space consumption, and its carbon footprint.
SheerWind’s INVELOX wind tunnel tower
The nifty design of this piece allows ground winds to be funnelled upwards through a trumpet-like, tapered passageway, naturally generating speed and thus energy through acceleration.
The sleek design means the device is successful even in lows winds, and is extremely cost-effective to build and maintain.
As the tunnel harbours no external blades rotating at high speeds, it also doesn’t pose a threat to local wildlife.
What’s more, the design enables each turbine to generate 600% more power than conventional turbines.
The Hybrid Wind-hydro Turbine
The greatest downfall of most wind turbine designs is their inability to harness power in lows winds or small breeze.
Well, firms Max Boegl Wind AG approached GE Renewable Energy to not only combine the power of water and wind – their design boasts an impressive height of 585 ft, making them the tallest wind turbines in the world.
So How do they Work?
These turbines effectively work as self-generated water pump stations, with a reservoir sitting approximately 200m below the turbines, each of which hold a 40m water tower. The reservoir and water towers hold 9 million gallons and 1.6 million gallons of water respectively.
When electricity is needed, wind energy and water flowing downhill from the reservoirs will power the hydro plant. Conversely, when the power is high, the hydro plant can return the water upstream, effectively acting as a giant battery.
This combination helps to mitigate the unpredictable nature of wind energy, whilst allowing energy to be stored and used as required.
The Helium-filled Floating Wind Turbine by Altaeros Energies
The turbines we’ve explored above are certainly some of the most creative innovations of our time. However, one thing they have in common is the necessity to anchor them either to the ground or the sea, which can cause issues in terms of land use and space.
Airborne turbines not only have the potential to eradicate this problem, they also have the capacity to monopolise the area in which the wind moves fastest – thus the ability to generate more power effectively.
Altaeros Energies engineered a helium-filled turbine which can reach a 1000 ft altitude, ensuring it captures the most consistent winds and provides twice the energy yield of traditional turbines.
These turbines can easily be placed in situ in more rural or even remote areas, offering greater accessibility to secluded communities.
And the added bonus? These nifty units could also provide services to mobile networks. Neat!