Harnessing natureâs power has always been our attempt to produce energy for our ever-growing needs. As our population expands and technology makes leaps and bounds, weâre going to need an unending supply of power to fuel our needs, wants and ambitions. And as resources for fossil fuels deplete at an alarming rate and the price of gas and oil soars. Itâs imperative that we find ways to sustain ourselves without further adversely impacting our environment. Aside from solar power, harnessing the wind can offer us a lifetimeâs supply of energy. Check out some of these unusual designs for wind turbines that innovative people have come up with:
1. Sky Serpent
Serpentine in look, the Sky Serpent designed by Doug Selsam is a modern engineering marvel. 25 turbines in one ensure that setting it up is cheaper and uses fewer materials. The trick was to find a way to make sure that each rotor generates wind of its own and doesnât rely on the one in front of it. Selsam figured out the answer â the right angle and proper spacing between the blades to generate up to 3kw of energy. With wind speeds of 20mph, this mini turbine is capable of generating 200W.
This v-shaped wind turbine uses a vertical shaft that generates power, complemented by horizontal shafts. Traditional wind turbines tend to trap wind coming only from one direction but the aerogenerator captures wind from all directions. This cuts costs as you donât need to build additional turbines to get the same amount of energy. Windpower, the brains behind this creation, says that though the massive size may be a little difficult to handle, if used properly, it could very well shed away the need for conventional forms of energy.
With a design life of 25 years, QuietRevolution or qr5 has been created in such a way that it can generate power using low wind speeds. While conventional turbines capture only horizontal winds, the qr5, like the aerogenerator, traps wind from all directions. The company claims that each turbine can generate 4,000 to 10,000kwh in a single year. This brand of vertical axis helical turbine (VAWT) stands 5 meters in height and 3 meters in diameter.
4. Kite wind turbine
This is truly an innovative concept. Unlike other turbines that need to be placed on the ground, the kite wind turbine can soar into the sky, fueled by jet streams. Designed by Bryan Roberts, a professor at Sydneyâs University of Technology, the turbine has the potential to generate huge amounts of power. The concept still hasnât come into fruition, however, as scientists try to figure out how to ensure that the cords supporting the turbine donât get cut and that the turbine itself doesnât crash.
5. Darrieus wind turbine
Another brand of VAWT, the Darrieus wind turbine has the capability of producing energy using the wind and aerofoils mounted on a rotating shaft. While the idea is impressive, it hasnât caught on properly due to certain limitations â how to protect the turbine against extreme winds and how to make it self-starting.
Still in the designing stage, the LadderMill wind turbine consists of tethered kites that can rotate up to 5 miles before coming back down and, in the process, turn a ground-based generator that generates power. The good thing about the LadderMill is that the turbine isnât dependent on height and could be built on a smaller scale too.
7. Storanâs shapeshifting turbine
Designed by Ben Storan, the turbine is similar to QuietRevolution. What sets it apart is that it can change shape depending on wind speeds. It can be folded during extreme speeds and opened when speeds are ideal enough to harness energy.
8. Helix Windâs Savonious turbine
Designed by Helix Wind, the Savonious is mounted 35 feet high and can harness energy in winds as low as 10mph. Itâs also a relatively quiet turbine. The noise produced is the same as that generated when wind passes through a house unlike traditional wind turbines that make a high whistling sound.
9. Sail turbine
The sail turbine designed by Chetwoods Associates is like the name suggests. A replica of a giant sail, the concept proposes to place the turbine in a gorge near Ladoga Lake in Russia. The sail will capture wind generated between the mountain and lake and pass it to the turbine to generate power.
10. Highway-mounted turbine
This turbine concept will be mounted on highways and will harness the wind produced by passing cars. Each unit will be able to produce 9,600kwh of energy each year. The concept is the brainchild of a student at Arizona State University.