The future of wind energy: The Vortex

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Featured image is from upsocl.com, I own no rights to it. 

If you know me personally, you’ll know that I love wind energy. I love everything about it. I love that it’s taking something that is easily available and using it to produce energy- and it’s super powerful. With wind energy you’re not digging anything up, it’s the definition of clean.

The design of the wind turbine has changed drastically over the years. The first one was actually created in 1st century AD, when a Greek engineer, Heron of Alexandria, creates a wind powered organ.

Then came the rustic windmills on farms that were often used to mill grain or pump water.

The design continued to change and in 1941, the first mega-watt-sized turbine was installed in Castleton, Vermont. This would set the stage for the wind turbine we know today.

But the design is still changing. As the popularity of wind farms around the world grows so does the need for a more innovative and practical turbine design.

There are ones with rigged blades to achieve better lift, cylider shaped turbines that can collect wind from all directions equally, helium filled balloons that catches wind along it’s sides, and one crazy one that is a long generator that has multiple rotors attached- that one looks like a stick with 7 fans on it. But my favorite is called the Vortex.

Vortex is a bladeless wind turbine that looks like a giant rolled up newspaper shooting into the sky. The Vortex has the same goals as conventional wind turbines: To turn breezes into kinetic energy that can be used as electricity. But it goes about it in an entirely different way.

Instead of capturing energy via the circular motion of a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. Vorticity has long been considered the enemy of architects and engineers, who actively try to design their way around these whirlpools of wind. And for good reason: With enough wind, vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion in structures, which, in some cases, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge can cause their eventual collapse.

The designers started Vortex Bladeless in 2010 as a way to turn this vibrating energy into something productive.

The Vortex is more efficient and cost-effective. AND, because it’s smaller than the traditional wind turbine, you can fit more of them in a field. It’s also safer for birds flying- gruesome, but true.

Check out the video below so you can be as excited as I am about this:

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