We have more than enough wind energy to power the whole world. But conventional wind turbines don’t do that great of a job of harnessing it.
Saphon Energy introduced a radical innovation in wind technology that just brought a much-needed breath of fresh air to the industry. The Tunisian company created a bladeless wind turbine which draws inspiration from the design of a ship’s sails.
Instead of harvesting wind energy with rotating blades, this turbine uses a sort of round sail held in a frame like a flat satellite dish. As the wind pushes on it, the dish oscillates in a back and forth motion, which allows the conversion of the majority of the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy through the use of pistons. These pistons are connected to a hydraulic system that converts mechanical energy into hydraulic pressure and then into electricity.
This turbine brings along a lot of innovations. It:
- Is half the cost of a typical wind turbine
- Is quieter than traditional models
- Harnesses the power without hurting birds
- Harvests about 80 percent of the available wind energy, which is 2.3 times more efficient than a traditional bladed turbine.
- Reduces the amount of energy lost through poor aerodynamics and discards unnecessary structural elements such as the blades, hub and gear box.
This zero blade technology is no doubt a cool concept with impressive efficiency and low cost. Saphon Energy is said to be in talks with a number of potential manufacturing partners.