EWICON: Bladeless wind turbine for urban communities
Aside from being a definite eyesore because of their large blades and causing birds in flight to succumb to them, modern day wind turbines cause tremendous hazard to our ethical and natural environment. Wind turbines require large areas and optimum locations with its moving segments. Netherlands researchers and architectural firm Mecanoo, however, have attempted to upgrade the existing wind power generators by suggesting a bladeless wind turbine design. Named EWICON (short for Electrostatic Wind energy Convertor), this renewable energy generating machine boasts of no moving parts. Instead, it takes up charged water droplets to accumulate potential energy.
The mechanism explained:
Cylindrical insulated tubes are lined up side by side and this series is further enclosed in a frame created out of steel. The tubes have electrodes, which donate protons to the water droplets and emit them via the nozzles into the surrounding atmosphere. The voltage fluctuates as the particles are blown away. This creates an electric field that is channeled to the power grid and utilized henceforth. Energy efficiency depends on factors like velocity of the wind, the number of droplets and the amount of charge placed on them as well as the electric field.
Currently, two small circular prototypes have been affixed on top of the Stadstimmerhuis 010 building in Rotterdam. Another larger rectanglular wind turbine with circular edges has been built up on the Delft Technical University campus. For setting up larger systems, the developer would definitely need more sponsors to back their efforts.
The creators aim to make EWICON fit for use anywhere and everywhere traditional wind turbines have made its mark and beyond. However, the design leads an aesthetic touch to the metro cities. The biggest edge that the bladeless turbines provide is it does not require large wind farms and hence can be space saving.
Since less mechanical parts means less maintenance, lesser noise and more sustainability, the innovative wind turbine design collectively contribute to offer a cheaper and cleaner model for green energy generation.