Researchers at MIT have proposed a method of storing the energy generated by offshore wind farms using concrete tanks on the seafloor under the wind turbines Their concept is to place spherical concrete tanks, about 25 metres in diameter, on the seafloor under floating wind turbines. The concrete tanks would serve both as anchors to moor the floating turbines and as a means of storing the energy they produce. When the wind turbines produce more power than is needed, that power would be used to pump seawater out of the tank. When power is needed, water would be allowed to … Continue Reading
Researchers at the University of Wollongong's ICT Research Institute, led by Professor Farzad Safaei, have developed a new form of wind energy harvester that does away with the large rotating blades of traditional wind turbines. The design uses softly rotating paneled windows that resemble venetian blinds, with the blades moving vertically to produce electricity. The unique design means that it can be installed on the tops or sides of large buildings. It it is also quieter and cheaper to run than current wind turbines – and it does not have large rotating blades that might be dangerous for birds. According to … Continue Reading
Johan Smit and Dhiradj Djairam at Delft Technical University have developed a wind energy convertor that transforms wind energy into electricity with no mechanical moving parts, no noise, no blades to kill birds – and it looks like it could be a modern sculpture. The device consists of a steel frame holding a series of thin insulated tubes arranged horizontally. Each tube contains several electrodes and nozzles, which continually release positively-charged water particles into the air. As the wind blows the particles away, the voltage of the device changes and creates an electric field. This animation shows how it works.
Mark Simpson and Ari Glezer at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have developed a new way of driving a wind turbine using the vortex effect which produces whirlwinds and tornados. When there is a temperature difference between hot air close to the ground and cooler air just above it, the hot air rises and cool air falls. This causes convection currents to form between these layers, leading to small whirlwinds. The researchers channelled these currents with an array of fixed blades into a vortex, which turns a turbine at the device's centre. As the warm air rises, more air … Continue Reading
The Danish company, Universal Foundation, in conjuntion with the UK's Carbon Trust, has developed a 'suction bucket' technique for the construction the foundations of offshore wind turbines. The developers believe that use of the technique has the potential to save of billions of pounds in the construction of new offshore windfarms for the UK alone.
GE, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are beginning work on developing wind blades covered with architectural fabric rather than the fibreglass used in conventional blades. The fabric would be wrapped around a metal spaceframe, resembling a fishbone. According to GE, this new design could reduce blade costs 25%-40%, making wind energy as economical as fossil fuels without government subsidies. GE estimates that to achieve the national goal of 20% wind power in the U.S., turbine blades need to be 50% longer – a figure that is virtually impossible to achieve with current technology. Lighter fabric blades … Continue Reading
SheerWind, a company based in Chaska, Minnesota, has developed a ducted wind power turbine. The ductwork is designed to capture wind from any direction and concentrate the moving airflow, increasing its speed before passing it through a relatively small turbine at ground level. Since the power produced by a wind turbine increases with the cube of the wind speed, any increase in speed could offer a significant power boost. SheerWind says that by speeding up the wind, they can increase power output by 280% and reduce the minimum wind speed required to produce power to 3 kilometres per hour. Researchers … Continue Reading
A Massachussetts company, Mass Megawatts Wind Power, has developed a multi-axis wind turbine system that it clains triples the power output of a conventional wind turbine while operating with lower wind speeds. The system funnels the wind over a proprietary arrangement of turbine blades. The funneling increases the velocity of the wind over the turbines. The company says that it consistently achieves and increase of 70% in the wind speed. Because the energy level of the wind is proportional to the cube of the wind speed, this increases the potential outuput by a factor of almost 5 – in practice, … Continue Reading
McCamley Ltd, a company based in Buldaria, has developed a new type of vertical axis wind turbine that is designed to be easy to install, without any need for a tower, on urban rooftops. The wind turbine is claimed to be able to operate with minimal noise and vibration and be able to self-start at low wind speeds. The turbine shown in the video is a 1 kilowatt prototype. McCamley say that they will be able to build a 12 kilowatt version in the next six months and that the technology is scalable up to 24 kilowatts.
A few months ago, we wrote about the flying wind turbine being developed by Altaeros Energies. The company has now carried out test flights of its prototype and begun work on a larger, more powerful commercial model.