Sail-inspired turbine promises cheaper wind energy

 

A Tunisian invention that harvests wind energy through adesign inspired by sailboats promises cheaper, more efficient wind energy.

The bladeless wind turbine, the Saphonian, named after the wind divinity that was worshipped by the ancient Carthaginians, also promises to be more environmentally friendly than existing wind turbines that produce noise and kill birds through their blade rotation.

Instead of rotating blades, the Saphonian’s sail-shaped body collects the kinetic energy of the wind, Anis Aouini, the Saphonian’s inventor, toldSciDev.Net.

He explained that the resulting mechanical energy moves pistons which generate hydraulic pressure that can be stored in a hydraulic accumulator or converted into electricity.

“This is not the first bladeless wind turbine, but we thought outside the box: the initial idea came from sails — the only human system that can capture and convert the bulk of the wind’s power into mechanical energy,” said Aouini.

An average wind turbine captures only 30 to 40 per cent of the wind’s kinetic energy, while the Saphonian can capture up to 80 per cent, according to Aouini.

Hassine Labaied, chief executive of Saphon Energy, the start-up energy company established to get the turbine to market, said the Saphonian reduces the aerodynamic and mechanical energy losses associated with rotating-blade turbines.

“Our second generation prototype is 2.3 times more efficient, and costs nearly half the price of its predecessors [conventional wind turbines]. It discards the most expensive components in a traditional wind turbine, which are the blades, hub and gearbox,” said Labaied.

Read more . . .

via SciDev – Nébil Zaghdoud
 

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Wind technology design innovation would eliminate blades

What if you could make a wind turbine with no blades at all?

A Tunisian company called Saphon Energy says it has designed a turbine using Zero-Blade Technology inspired by a sailboat that is more efficient and safer for wildlife.

Those of us who love the idea that wind-generated power could help reduce some of the world’s fossil-fuels addiction are conflicted by stories of possible health side effects (headaches and worse) as well as the negative impact that some wind farms have had on bats and birds. Not to mention the noise and the aesthetics.

But what if you could make a wind turbine with no blades at all?

Yes, I know I just wrote about the world’s longest blade which is fascinating in and of itself, well I just read this item over at TreeHugger detailing a scheme by a company called Saphon Energy to redesign the turbine layout to eliminate blades. Not only will this help with some of the noise concerns and danger to wildlife, but it will help turbines be more efficient, according to the company.

On its Web site, Saphon says the concept was inspired by sailboat designs. The company writes:

“The blades are replaced by a sail-shaped body, while both hub and gearbox are removed. Instead of spinning the blades’ rotor, the wind is being harnessed by a sail, which follows a non-rotational back and forth motion. Such movement follows a knot path and allows the conversion of the majority of the kinetic energy into mechanical energy (using pistons). The same is then converted to a hydraulic pressure that could either be stored (in hydraulic accumulator) or instantly converted to electricity via a hydraulic motor and a generator. Thanks to the aerodynamic shape of the Saphonian, the drag force becomes the driving force of the system while the lift force becomes almost nil.”

The design would allow turbines to overcome Betz’ law, which limits how much kinetic energy a wind turbine can capture. Right now, most turbines can capture about 30 percent to 40 percent, but Saphon Energy believes its design will capture at least twice that amount, resulting in a more efficient turbine.

Read more . . .

via ZDNet –
 

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