windmill, delft, energy, powerThe Dutch love of windmills is well-known, so it comes as no surprise that architecture firm Mecanoo and researchers at the Delft Technical University are working to develop a bladeless wind turbine.

Well, apart from the surprise that somebody would name an architecture firm “Mecanoo”.

Why, you might ask, does anyone need a bladeless wind turbine? Well, just like all moving components in a mechanical system, blades require maintenance to keep them running efficiently. To counter this problem, Delft researchers are developing a system they call the “Electrostatic Wind Energy Convertor” – or EWICON, for short.

Unlike conventional turbines which create electricity through a mechanical process, the EWICON creates energy by leveraging charged water droplets. The EWICON system is designed around a simple steel frame that holds a number of horizontally aligned insulated tubes. Across the body of each tube lies numerous electrodes and nozzles that release positively charged water particles into the air. As each wave of particles is drawn away from the EWICON by the wind, the voltage of the EWICON is altered and an electric field is generated. This electric field can then be dumped into the power grid and consumed by anyone looking for power.

While only a few small prototypes of the EWICON system are currently in operation, researchers believe the system could be installed nearly anywhere. However, the system would likely be best suited for use in an urban environment where there isn’t enough space for a massive wind farm.

Watch a Video About EWICON:

Images and Video Courtesy of Delft Technical University

 

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