Wind power is a great way to generate clean renewable energy, and the innovations in wind technology being pursued over the last year or so are a reminder that with the right tools, we can turn the movement of the air above us into fuel for our energy-hungry lifestyles.
The latest designs and ideas in the wind energy sector are very different from the windmill style turbines that have led the way. Much of the innovation has been driven by the fact that traditional turbines are not suitable for all weather conditions. There is now even a wind turbine that can generate power when there is no wind. We have compiled 8 cool and amazing wind powers innovation.
Eco Whisper Turbine
Want wind power, but think that those tri-bladed behemoths are just too loud? Well then, Australia Renewable Energy Solutions has just the thing for you: The Eco Whisper wind turbine. This sharp-looking little contraption may only have a 20 kW generating capacity, but the company claims that the turbine is “virtually silent”. It’s also, allegedly, more efficient.
A hybrid wind-hydro turbine
How does a wind turbine generate electricity when there’s no breeze? Typical turbines simply can’t, but a new project from Max Bögl Wind AG and GE Renewable Energy pairs traditional bladed turbines with hydropower technology for the world’s first hybrid wind-hydro energy generator. Set to be located in Germany’s Swabian-Franconian Forest, the project will initially feature four wind turbines with a capacity of 13.6 megawatts.
The Typhoon Turbine
Bird-friendly Catching Wind Power
One of the oldest designs in this roundup was created by an 89-year-old military veteran who is also a bird lover. In 2012, Raymond Green designed the Catching Wind Power generator, which funnels wind currents with what looks like a giant megaphone and then compresses the incoming air in order to create more power at the turbine within. There are no external moving parts to pose a threat to birds or bats, though, making Catching Wind Power a lot safer than traditional designs. Green designed the system to be scaleable, hoping that both residential and industrial installations can generate renewable energy without endangering birds.
Wind Turbine Lenses
Japanese researchers say that they’ve discovered a simple way to make wind turbines up to three times as efficient. By placing a ‘wind lens’around the turbine blades, they claim that wind power could become cheaper than nuclear.
The new Wind Harvester is based on a reciprocating motion that uses horizontal aerofoils similar to those used on aeroplanes. It is virtually noise-free and can generate electricity at a low speed, which may result in less opposition to new installations. It will also be operational at higher wind speeds than current wind turbines.
Manmade Island Wind Battery Concept
The Green Power Island makes use of pumped hydro, a storage strategy that’s already in wide use. Conventional pumped hydro systems use vertically separated reservoirs to utilize the power of water and gravity; during times of low demand (off peak), water is pumped using excess energy from the lower to the upper reservoir. As demand increases, the water is allowed to flow downhill into the lower reservoir, generating electricity in the process.