A Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless has produced a wind turbine that takes advantage of the vortices produced when wind moves around an obstacle. This new wind turbine wobbles elegantly in the wind, generating electricity without rotating blades. “It looks like asparagus,” says David Suriol, one of the founders.
If you put any object in the path of the wind, it will create an undulating vortex behind the barrier. This is a problem that has plagued engineers for years: bridges have fallen due to wind eddies.Vortex Bladeless engineers have designed their turbine to take advantage of this vortex. The thin, cone-shaped turbine is made of carbon fiber and fiberglass with the motor at the bottom instead of the top (like traditional turbines) to improve sturdiness. The design ensures that the wind’s vortex spins synchronously along the entire cone. “The swirls have to work together to achieve good performance,” Villarreal explains. There is also a ring of magnets at the base of the cone that give the rotations a boost regardless of wind speed.
There are many advantages to the new Vortex design: It is cheaper to manufacture than current pinwheel turbines. Maintenance prices are also lower because there is no friction from mechanically moving parts (e.g., the blades on a traditional turbine), which reduces the need for oiling and bolt replacement. It is completely silent and birds can fly around them safely.
Vortex is a wind generator without blades. Instead of capturing energy via the rotational motion of a turbine, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that occurs when wind breaks against a solid structure (Kármán vortex street). The Vortex structure starts to oscillate, and captures the energy that is produced.
Vortex doesn’t just eliminate the blades. We have deliberately designed it to have no parts in contact at all (no gears, linkages, etc). This way we can make Vortex cheap and easy to maintain.
Basically, we reduce the amount of raw materials used for manufacturing, which cuts the production costs and time to produce the equipment. Further, having no moving parts in contact means that there are really very few things that can break, which extends time between maintenance intervals and allows to have less down time. As a result, maintaining costs are low.
Finally, Vortex is silent, since it oscillates at a frequency that doesn't produce audible noise (it is below 20 Hz) . It is also safer for birds that often suffer from collision with blades.