The Future of Wind Turbines? No Blades
Now that we’re used to seeing huge spinning blades across the high plains, there may be a new visual icon on the horizon in the future – enormous tall narrow poles that simply quiver in the wind. This report from Wired. They’re called Vortex Bladeless. Their purpose is the same: turning breezes into kinetic energy that can be used as electricity. But, that’s where the similarity to bladed wind turbines ends. Instead of capturing wind energy with the circular motion of a propeller, The Vortex uses vorticity. That’s an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of vortices. Whirling air patterns that are the enemy of architects and engineers, could now be have new purpose in renewable energy.
It's no longer surprising to encounter 100-foot pinwheels spinning in the breeze as you drive down the highway. But don't get too comfortable with that view. A Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless is proposing a radical new way to generate wind energy that will once again upend what you see outside your car window.