Monday, March 19, 2007


What makes the wind turbine we designed unique lies in both the turbine’s design and operation. In terms of design, the turbine is built around a vertical axis, which means that it is capable of capturing the wind from any direction. This is in contrast to the traditional “windmill” style turbine, which is built around a horizontal axis, and can only capture energy from wind blowing in the direction perpendicular to the turbine blades. There are also no “blades” on our turbine. Instead, there is one “sail,” helical in shape and made out of durable, light-weight Poly-Fiber sheeting – the same material used to cover light airplanes.

We knew we had an effective design when it turned out our design ideas had already been incorporated into an existing turbine – the aeroturbine, produced by a Chicago based firm, Aerotecture.

The unique aspect of the turbine's operation lies in its ability to store energy after it has been captured. One of the biggest criticisms of wind turbines is the intermittency of the power they generate. That is, they only generate electricity when the wind is blowing, unless you can somehow manage to store the energy while it is being generated, and then switch to the stored energy supply when the wind has stopped blowing. We intend to do this by using a flywheel connected to the turbine via a freewheel. In this way, the turbine will transfer power to the flywheel when the wind is blowing. Should the wind die down, the flywheel can continue spinning, even as the turbine slows down.

However, energy storage is not the primary goal, as it is not essential to the success of the turbine. The electricity created by the turbine can simply be directed back into the grid, whether it is produced intermittently or smoothly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Team - Bil Becker here.

There are several storage approaches we are investigating.
One is via compressed air and the
high-efficiency "air motors" now available.
That same air motor can also provide "aeration" - an important water cleaning
Please reply an this "air" idea.