New Wind Turbine Promises to Increase Output
If it looks like a jet engine that's because it uses the same principles. However, this turbine is not expending energy, it's generating energy. Most wind turbines max out at 60 percent efficiency.
The problem is that 40 percent of the wind passes around the blades of the windmill without actually turning the generator and making power. Here comes the FloDesign Wind Turbine to change all of that. By focusing the wind over the blades, it improves efficiency dramatically.
A FloDesign Wind Turbine will generate the same amount of power as a conventional windmill with double its size. This also means more wind turbines can be placed closer together, increasing output on a wind farm. Pressure increases the speed of air moving through the FloDesign unit and actually creates a vacuum behind the turbine which pulls even more air volume past the blades.
The blades themselves are highly efficient. Most windmills require the wind to be between 3 and 4 degrees of head on to maximize efficiency. The FloDesign turbine can work efficiently at angles of up to 20 degrees away from the wind direction.
FloDesign has finished a prototype and plans to go commercial with the technology sometime after 2010. The goal is to make wind turbines that will generate up to one megawatt each.
[via Technology Review]