Wind turbines: a bladeless tech revolution?

As renewable energy takes a greater share of UK generation, wind power still suffers for the noise and appearance of turbines. Bladeless technology could help.

Wind turbines have become a relatively common site in Britain’s rural landscapes. The distinctive shape is crucial to the functioning of traditional turbines, the turning of the blades capturing kinetic energy and turning into electricity.

Unfortunately, it also creates noise, including low frequency sounds that can cause adverse health effects in humans. The moving parts mean that turbines need regular maintenance, an important consideration given the significant initial expense of turbine manufacture.

A new type of wind generator could solve these problems: Vortex Bladeless has created a new design for wind turbines that it claims are cheaper to manufacture, bladeless and practically silent.

How do bladeless wind turbines work?

Bladeless turbines use a different technique taking advantage of vorticity, an aerodynamic phenomenon that creates “repeating pattern of swirling vortices”. This complicated-sounding principle is best understood by watching the famous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.

Generally avoided in design, vorticity offers an opportunity to harness and transform wind into kinetic energy and then electricity.

Vortex Bladeless co-founder, David Suriol claims their creation is a leap forward in wind energy, and is a “more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to produce energy, reducing manufacturing costs by 53%, cut maintenance costs by 80%, and would represent a 40% reduction in both the carbon footprint and generation costs, when compared to conventional bladed wind turbines”.

The Vortex is also said to be quieter (than standard wind turbines), and to present a much lower risk to birds and the local environment.

According to an interview in Renewable Energy Magazine, the company has already raised over €1 million from both private and public funds in Europe, and is expected to roll out its pre-commercial prototype within the year, (to see more on Vortex Bladeless crowd funding see their website).

A changing energy industry

The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is being driven in part by the demand of consumer, including businesses. Cheaper, smaller and less disruptive wind turbines could help expand the impact of wind energy on future local and national power grids.

Businesses are now in an almost unique situation of being able to clearly compare energy and switch electricity supplier to one that reflects their ethical or economic priorities – or a mixture of both. Whether you want green power from 100% renewable generation, care more about cost than how your power is generated or want a low-carbon compromise, there is a supplier to suit.

The only barrier is time. It can take many hours to trawl through the scores of possible providers, speaking to each in turn. For an immediate solution SwitchMyBusiness.com can help find your perfect power partner. Simply complete the form on the top right of this page or call 0800 411 8830. Our expert team can answer any questions you might have.

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