Vortex Bladeless Generates Power from Wind without Blades
Tom Spendlove posted on June 05, 2015 |

David Yanez was looking for a new way to generate wind energy and seeing the video of the swaying Tacoma Narrows Bridge brought him inspiration. The aeroelastic fluttering was enough to cause the bridge to collapse, and this led Yanez to believe that the motions caused from wind could be put to more productive use.

Along with Raul Martin and David Suriol, Vortex Bladeless was formed and a new wind energy venture was born. After finding grant money to fund their research and field tests in 2014 the team is running an indiegogo campaign to fund development costs.

Images courtesy indiegogo

The Vortex Atlantis is the goal for this funding round. Atlantis will produce 100 Watts and the team expects a 4 kiloWatt generator aimed at home users. The long term goal is a 1 MegaWatt generator that will be over 150 meters tall.

Vortex's innovation comes from its unusual shape, where a fiberglass and carbon fiber mast oscillates in the wind taking advantage of the vortex shedding effect. A carbon fiber rod sits at the bottom of the mast and its movement inside a linear alternator generates the electricity.

The team says that the smaller footprint and lower center of gravity of the Vortex allow for much smaller foundation requirements, and more generators can be placed in an area than turbines with larger blades and larger foundations. The estimate is that bladeless generators can be installed with twice the density of traditional turbines.

Initial testing shows that the Vortex will run at less than 20 Hertz so the claims are that it will be noiseless. At wind speeds of 16 meters per second the tower oscillated at around 4 Hertz. During heavy wind a syncing system in the controller modifies the frequency of natural resonance in the structure.

Vortex is a radical departure from current wind generation technology and is definitely well developed to this point. Much more data needs to be collected and tests performed before commercial or even maker adoption takes place but the promise is there. The team has obviously done a great deal of work in the process and their campaign page and video are polished and professional.

Images courtesy indiegogo

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