A bladeless wind turbine is set to change the face of wind energy production.
Wind energy may be one of the more sustainable sources of power available, but the spinning blades of conventional wind turbines require regular maintenance and have attracted criticism from bird lovers. Recently, however, Dutch researchers have developed the Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter (EWICON) bladeless wind turbine that creates potential energy with charged water particles.
The technology was developed by Delft University of Technology’s Johan Smit and Dhiradi Djairam. A full-scale model of the EWICON was developed by Mecanoo Architects and is located in front of the University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.
According to the developers, the system could easily be installed on land or sea, much like regular wind turbines, but the design is particularly suited to urban areas. Also, with a lack of moving parts, it would require less maintenance while producing less noise and no flickering shadows.
The system comprises of a battery, inverter, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) source, pump and charging system. All the components are placed on a metal plate, which is supported by ceramic insulators.
According to www.machinedesign.com, the researchers are leaning towards using high-pressure mono-disperse spraying (HPMS) to generate charged water drops. Their best result so far came from using six such nozzles to spray a water/ethanol mixture, which produced an output of 2,1MW per nozzle. A 1KW version using this configuration would require 4,8x105 spraying nozzles, roughly 700x700 nozzles occupying 14x14m², assuming 2cm spacing in-between. Researchers say this requires nozzles to be much more closely packed before a KW version will prove to be economical. For HPMS – even with lower-than-expected charging efficiencies – the increase in produced current should be feasible.
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.machinedesign.com and Meccanoo Architects for the information given to write this article.
Watch a demonstration of the EWICON online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXh5aj_i-9I