Bladeless wind turbines?
Wind is already known as a renewable energy source, and is being harnessed all over the world by windmills on farms and on wind farms (how do you like the play on words there?). The process has supporters and naysaysers alike. But for those who would like a process that provides electricity, while harnessing wind power without causing as much environmental damage in the form of collateral damage—to birds of prey, you may be in luck in the near future. Recently some discussion has erupted onto the tech scene about what is being called “radical” by some (Tucker, 2015). A company called Vortex Bladeless is developing wind turbines that produce electricity without blades! What!
It really isn’t an entirely new idea, however radical it sounds. But the idea is pretty cool. The process uses vorticity. Huh? For those like me who might be technically challenged, it is basically a vortex—like the name implies. Vortex Bladeless has designed a system composed of a cone-shaped mast similar to traditional mills but without the blades. The process is not perfected yet, but is making headway.
The desire to go bladeless stems from the growing problem of birds becoming dismembered by accidentally flying into these wind farms. One wind farm in Altamont Pass, California, is responsible for killing over 1,300 birds of prey each year – this wind farm lies along a migration route for these birds (Looper, 2015).
So, how efficient are the bladeless wind mills? The Vortex Bladeless mills are projected to produce about 30% less than the mills with blades. The good part about that is, that more bladeless mills can be placed in a region than bladed, due to the space needed. Plus, the company estimates the maintenance costs of bladeless mills are about 80% lower than traditional wind mills (Tucker, 2015).
These bladeless wind mills are still in development and Vortex Bladeless has opted for a crowdfunding route to bring them into production. Visit Vortex Bladeless for more information.
Looper, L. (2015). Are there any risks associated with the production of wind energy? Retrieved from howstuffworks: science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/risks-associated-wind-energy1.htm
Tucker, B. (2015, May 7). Wind Power Without The Mills. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/billtucker/2015/05/07/wind-power-without-the-mills/