Spanish company Vortex Bladeless, has developed a radical alternative to the standard designs of wind turbine.
Its design turns kinetic energy into electricity by forming a kind of whirlwind. The energy of the wind would cause the turbine to oscillate from side to side.
A vortex is a kind of spinning wind, which structures are normally designed to withstand instead of enhance.
The design was "inspired" by a famous bridge collapse. The Tacoma Narrows disaster of 1940 was caused by a 40mph wind blowing at the resonant frequency of the bridge’s deck.
A prototype of the Vortex Bladeless
A magnet at the bottom of the structure acts as a motor, which allows the turbine to vibrate more, creating more energy. This is then converted into electricity by an alternator.
A bladeless turbine captures 30% less energy than a regular device, but it would be possible to have more bladeless models in the same area. There is also no noise, no friction and so less wear and tear.
The Vortex also costs around 50% less than bladed turbines.
The company is currently conducting field tests with scaled models. Dozens of wind tunnel tests have already been carried out.
The company has already raised $1m from private and government funding in Spain but will be crowdfunding from June.
Images via Vortex Bladeless